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The Impoundment Control Act of 1974

Published: Jun 29, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1978.
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The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 created the procedural means by which the Congress considers and reviews executive branch withholdings of budget authority. It requires the President to report promptly to the Congress all withholdings of budget authority and to abide by the outcome of the congressional impoundment review process. Although the basic framework of the act is sound, there are several refinements that could be made to the law and the way it is administered. Administratively, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should: specify the duration of proposed partial-year deferrals, identify all impoundments of congressional add-ons to executive branch budget requests, note whether there have been previous impoundments proposed for each program in which withholdings currently are proposed, and improve the timeliness of presidential impoundment reports. Legislative recommendations include repeal of the requirement to report routine impoundments in the form of budgetary reserves, providing a means to reduce the 45-day period during which funds can be withheld pending rescission requests, requiring a statement of the exact duration of proposed partial-year deferrals, elimination of the 25-day waiting period before the Comptroller General can initiate legal proceedings to compel the release of impounded budget authority, and specifying when impoundments may be proposed after prior impoundments for the same program have been rejected by the Congress.

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