Availability of Deobligated No-Year Funds

B-200519: Nov 28, 1980

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Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The General Counsel of the Agency for Internatinal Development (AID) requested an opinion as to whether certain no-year funds appropriated in 1974 for relief assistance to drought-stricken nations of Africa may be reobligated despite the absence of deobligation-reobligation authority for fiscal year (FY) 1980 foreign assistance funds. AID deobligated an amount of the authorized appropriation from two projects which could not be continued, and wishes to reobligate these funds for disaster-related activities in another area. Prior to 1979, AID received appropriations with specific authority to reobligate, rather than return to the Treasury, obligated funds which were subsequently deobligated in the new fiscal year. Beginning in FY 1979, Congress decided not to include this deobligation-reobligation authority in the AID appropriation acts. Thus, the question arose as to whether this omission had any effect on AID authority to reobligate its no-year funds. GAO found that this elimination affects only appropriations made to AID on a fiscal year basis. The deobligated sum at issue is available for obligation on the same basis as if it were an unobligated balance of a no-year appropriation. Funds appropriated for relief assistance to drought-stricken nations in Africa remain available until expended and may be reobligated for purposes within the scope of the appropriation.