President's Seventh Special Message for FY 1981

OGC-81-8: Published: May 13, 1981. Publicly Released: May 13, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the President's seventh special message to Congress for fiscal year 1981. The special message proposed 81 rescissions of budget authority totalling $11.1 billion and 1 new deferral totalling $3.4 million.

Except as noted, GAO identified no additional information that would be useful to Congress in its consideration of the President's proposals and believes that the proposed deferral is in accordance with existing authority. GAO questioned whether some environmental quality activities being eliminated are duplicative regulatory activities. It appears that the effect of the rescission and other potential proposals will be to transfer functions to other agencies rather than eliminate duplicative activities. Given the relative significance of the proposed rescission, GAO questions the ability of the Council on Environmental Quality to function after the fund reduction. GAO questioned the justification of a proposed rescission of an agricultural program which provided that some funding for rural development could be obtained through other federal programs. Those funds are already committed, and diverting them would be difficult. The amount of funds that practically could be rescinded is also in doubt. The rescission of the Energy Information Administration proposal is not consistent with the GAO position that there is a need to ensure the accuracy and credibility of energy information used in formulating national energy policy. National Institutes of Health rescission proposals affect awards already made. Community development programs suggested for rescission are not duplicative in that they reach different beneficiaries and projects.

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