President's Fifth Special Message for FY 1981

OGC-81-5: Published: Mar 11, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1981.

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The President's fifth special message concerning fiscal year 1981 was transmitted to Congress. The special message contained 38 deferral proposals. These proposals were comprised of a conversion to deferrals of the 33 rescissions proposed by the previous Administration, four new deferrals, and a revision to one previously transmitted deferral.

The conversion to deferrals is a temporary action for the purpose of allowing the new Administration an opportunity to review and revise the rescission proposals within the context of the new President's overall economic plan. Further, the temporary conversion to deferrals will not be used to attribute to the President a new 45-day withholding period if the original proposals or an amended version of them are resubmitted at a later date. One of the 33 conversions concerned a proposal involving the appropriation to the U.S. Postal Service for the Postal Service Fund. Applicable statutes prohibit apportionment of any monies credited to the Fund. The previous Administration stated that no funds were being withheld pending congressional action on the rescission proposal. Accordingly, the 45-day withholding period is not applicable to this proposal. Deferrals typically involve a withholding of funds by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). GAO has held that there is nothing in the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, amendments to the Act, or legislative history that limits the authority of Congress to rescind funds previously appropriated. However, no withholding of funds by OMB has taken place. It is the opinion of GAO that the proposed deferrals are in accordance with existing authority.

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