Status of Budget Authority Deferrals Disapproved by P.L. 99-349

OGC-86-23: Published: Sep 22, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 1986.

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GAO reported on the status of budget authority deferrals which Congress disapproved in the Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1986.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) continues to withhold $48,809,349 of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $131,132,949 in deferred budget authority as an unapportioned balance, since obligation would violate the sequestration order under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. This order established a budget base for the fund of $85 million and a sequester of $3,655,000. Release and obligation of the full amount would comply with the Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act, but would have resulted in outlays beyond the level the Balanced Budget Act designated. OMB chose to follow the Balanced Budget Act and released $70,345,000 for new obligations. However, the Supreme Court struck down the Balanced Budget Act procedure because of the power vested in the Comptroller General. Since it is unclear whether Congress intended continued compliance with the Balanced Budget Act limitation, GAO: (1) does not believe that the OMB action should be treated as an unreported impoundment; and (2) suggested that Congress legislatively clarify its intent. In addition, with regard to another deferral concerning energy supplies, OMB did not initially release the total amount for obligation due to a mathematical error. OMB has since released the entire $577,533,903 deferred in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve account.

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