Budget Issues:

Compliance Report Required by the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990

AFMD-92-43: Published: Feb 14, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed whether Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports and presidential orders issued during the session of Congress ending January 3, 1992, complied with the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990.

GAO found that: (1) CBO and OMB reports substantially complied with the act except for the OMB Within-Session Sequester Report and the President's order implementing it; (2) in its Within-Session Sequester Report for fiscal year 1991, OMB incorrectly reported that budget authority for domestic discretionary spending exceeded the limit for that category by $2.4 million and incorrectly called for a sequester of 0.0013 percent to eliminate the breach; (3) the sequestration reduced 1991 outlays by $1.4 million; (4) OMB could have avoided the sequester if it had not included in its estimate the $26 million included in the Dire Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Library of Congress; (5) the Emergency Supplemental Act extended the life of previously obligated HUD and Library of Congress funds until expended for purposes for which originally intended, but OMB considered those budgetary resources to be a reappropriation and incorrectly scored them as new budget authority; (6) if OMB had used the same rounding logic as in previous sequestration reports, it would not have called for a within-session sequester; and (7) there were several minor instances in which either OMB or CBO, or both, did not comply with the act.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 made some changes to BEA of 1990, but did not address GAO's specific recommendations.

    Matter: Congress should consider certain technical corrections to the Budget Enforcement Act, which include: (1) eliminating the possibility of a deficit sequestration resulting from the scoring of continuing resolutions under the circumstances described above; (2) defining what constitutes a change in concept; (3) addressing the issue of spending-limit adjustments that are due to the scoring of reappropriations; (4) clarifying how errors in original OMB budget estimates are to be corrected; and (5) addressing how Social Security administrative expenses should be calculated for purposes of the baseline.


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