Budget Process:

Use and Impact of Rescission Procedures

T-OCG-92-5: Published: Sep 25, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1992.

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GAO discussed its role in the congressional rescission process and the uses and impacts of rescissions. GAO noted that: (1) its rescission responsibilities include establishing formal congressional controls over presidential impoundments, reviewing presidential impoundment messages sent to Congress, reporting to Congress any misclassified or unreported impoundments, reporting the status of funds affected by rescissions, monitoring rescission time limits, and provide statistical summaries and analyses on the impoundment process; (2) Congress has approved about 35 percent of proposed presidential rescissions and about 31 percent of proposed rescinded budget authority; (3) Congress has initiated and approved rescissions totalling over $50 billion; (4) rescissions themselves are not an effective tool in reducing the deficit, and rescissions totalled more than 3 percent of the annual deficit in only 5 of the 19 years; (5) enhanced presidential rescission authority could transfer too much power to the executive branch by expanding presidential veto power and forcing Congress to reintroduce any proposed budget authority proposals; and (6) expedited rescission authority would force Congress to a prompt up-or-down vote on specific presidential rescission proposals.

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