Deferral of SPR Budget Authority Not Reported to Congress

OGC-83-11: Published: May 5, 1983. Publicly Released: May 5, 1983.

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GAO reported a deferral of budget authority provided for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) petroleum account which should have been, but was not, reported to Congress pursuant to the provisions of the Impoundment Control Act.

GAO found that a total of $4.5 billion is available in the SPR account for oil deliveries in fiscal year (FY) 1983. GAO estimated that, at current prices, approximately $800 million in the SPR account will remain unobligated. The GAO estimate of the deferred amount was based on its calculation of the amount of funds that will not be used if the President continues to fill the SPR at the current rate for the rest of FY 1983 and carries out current plans for oil delivery in the first 6 months of FY 1984. The Office of Management and Budget has maintained that there are difficulties in applying the act to the SPR funds because the estimate includes certain funds transferred by the Department of Energy (DOE) to the Defense Fuel Supply Center (DFSC), its agent for purchasing oil. GAO believes that the act requires that the funds be transferred by DOE to DFSC but uncommitted to oil purchases. In addition, GAO believes that, where a deferral of obligated but unexpended funds is disapproved, the act requires that the funds be made available for expenditure. In the view of GAO, the existence of the deferral of SPR funds under the act is determined by the highest practicable fill rate.

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