Progress in Improving Program and Budget Information for Congressional Use

PAD-81-88: Published: Sep 1, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 1, 1981.

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GAO is required to report annually on the progress and results of its continuing program to improve the fiscal, budgetary, and program-related information reported to Congress.

GAO provided assistance to Congress on pending legislation that would: (1) reform oversight procedures and information; and (2) establish a commission to study ways of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental operations. GAO has also established the Congressional Information Sources, Inventories, and Directories files, an automated database of current inventories of: (1) statutory requirements for recurring reports to Congress; (2) Federal program evaluation studies; (3) information sources and resources on fiscal, budgetary, and program matters; and (4) information systems containing data on such matters. During the last year, GAO continued its efforts to eliminate or modify statutory requirements for 235 reports to Congress. In recent years, GAO has been concerned about the excessive paperwork and burdensome mechanics of the zero-base budgeting (ZBB) process prescribed for Federal agencies. GAO noted in its reports that certain ZBB features were useful but suggested that detailed budget formulation analyses and documentation be restricted each year to certain programs on a rotating basis to coincide with congressional cycles of program reviews and reauthorization. The Office of Management and Budget has provided managers with new flexibility in the format and structure of their budget preparation work and eliminated requirements for ZBB preparations and submissions. GAO believes that this will improve budget formulation practices that could benefit Congress as well as the Executive Branch.

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