Appropriated Funds

B-202472: Published: Mar 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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The President has recently proposed, under the Impoundment Control Act, that a portion of funds appropriated to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting be rescinded. GAO was asked about the legality of the President's rescission proposal, and whether there was any bar to Congress' acting this year to reduce the Corporation's fiscal year 1982 appropriation. The Corporation was established as a nonprofit corporation which is not an agency or establishment of the government. Congress provided multiyear appropriation authorizations for the Corporation and established the principle of forward funding in advance of the year in which the appropriation is to be spent by providing a 2-year advance appropriation. A matching appropriation was authorized based on the amount of nonfederal money received by the Corporation from private sources during a specific prior period. Funds are disbursed on a quarterly basis to meet the obligations in the succeeding quarter. Funds have already been appropriated to the Corporation for fiscal years 1982 and 1983, although these funds are not yet available for obligation or expenditure. Rescission proposals are typically accompanied by a withholding of funds by the President during consideration of the proposal. Since the Corporation's funds in question are not yet available to the Corporation; there is no withholding of funds involved here. Because funds appropriated to the Corporation are statutorily required to be made available to it without review or control, the Impoundment Control Act cannot be used by the executive branch to refuse to make funds available. The appropriation remains unobligated. There is nothing in the provision governing the Corporation, nor any other provision of law, which would prohibit Congress from reducing the fiscal year 1982 appropriation.

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