Review of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 after 2 Years

OGC-77-20: Published: Jun 3, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1977.

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GAO has had to report comparatively few unreported impoundments, and the overall quality of impoundment reports has improved since the first Presidential "special message" was sent to the Congress.

Generally, the President has complied with the language and spirit of the Impoundment Control Act, although some impoundments either were not reported to the Congress or were reported so late that the purpose of the act was frustrated. During the GAO 2-year analysis, most impoundments concerned domestic programs in housing, environmental, and community development and the closely related areas of highway and road development. Defense impoundments ranked third. Budget authority for science, research, and development activities was impounded least often. Proposed rescissions--permanent withdrawals of budget authority--have been rejected by the Congress more often than proposed deferrals of budget authority.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Certain provisions of the the Impoundment Control Act should be amended in order to define key terms, give the Congress more flexibility with respect to disapproving proposed deferrals of budget authority, and clarify certain aspects of its operation. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should expedite the processing of impoundment reports; indicate the proposed duration of partial-year deferrals; indicate whether there have been previous impoundments proposed for each program in which withholdings currently are proposed; indicate whether congressional "add-ons" are the subject of impoundments; and identify executive branch officials who are familiar with each proposed impoundment.


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