Addressing the Deficit:

Budgetary Implications of Selected GAO Work for Fiscal Year 1998

OCG-97-2: Published: Mar 14, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1997.

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GAO provided updated information on options that could be used to reduce the deficit, focusing on the budgetary implications of selected program reforms discussed in GAO's work but not yet implemented or enacted.

GAO noted that: (1) clearly, Congress has many available options for dealing with the deficit; (2) under the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA), as amended, the spending and revenue options included in the report could be used either to reduce the deficit or to free up funds for other programs; (3) under the pay-as-you-go rules of BEA, savings from direct spending programs (entitlement and mandatory programs) or revenue options would reduce the deficit unless these savings were used to offset either direct spending program expansions or tax cuts; (4) for discretionary spending programs, savings from changes would contribute to additional deficit reduction if BEA caps on discretionary spending were lowered; otherwise, the savings would be available for use in other discretionary programs; (5) although GAO derived the options from its existing body of work, there are similarities with other deficit reduction proposals; and (6) the analytical framework for considering individual deficit reduction options focused on reassessing objectives, redefining beneficiaries, and improving efficiency.

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