President's Third Special Message for Fiscal Year 1982

OGC-82-4: Published: Nov 24, 1981. Publicly Released: Nov 24, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the President's third special message to Congress for fiscal year 1982. The special message proposed two rescissions of budget authority totaling $88.2 million and 72 deferrals of budget authority totaling $482.9 million.

A proposed Department of Defense (DOD) budget rescission is based on a decision to purchase 120 instead of 180 F-16 aircraft in 1982. The conference report on this rescission recommended that the proposed rescission not be enacted, the Air Force be authorized to use the funds to finance the restructured procurement plan in 1982, and $60.8 million less than the amount requested be authorized for purchasing the 120 F-16 aircraft in 1982. The 45-day period of continuous session during which the DOD missile procurement funds may be withheld pending congressional consideration will end on December 16, 1981. Department of Commerce officials told GAO that part of its deferral is being applied to the trade adjustment assistance program. The Department of Energy deferral will have a significant impact on staffing levels. A reduction in force is anticipated to accommodate the reduction in funding. The Veterans Administration (VA) has chosen to accommodate its deferral by supporting a lower staff level and anticipates a significant negative impact on its research program if the current rate of spending proposed in the special message continues for the entire fiscal year. GAO also recommended that Congress disapprove the deferral of budget authority for two hospital construction projects. Except as noted in its report, GAO identified no additional information that would be useful to Congress in its consideration of the President's proposals and believed that the proposed deferrals were in accordance with existing authority.

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