Comments on Senate Amendment No. 517 to S. 2

PAD-80-36: Published: Nov 13, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1979.

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GAO was requested to comment on an amendment to proposed legislation which would require Congress to set its agenda for selective, comprehensive reexamination and reauthorization of programs as part of the first concurrent resolution on the budget in the second session of each Congress. Expedited procedures for considering sunset reauthorization bills are also provided in the amendment. Limiting the application of the " sunset action forcing" requirements adds considerable flexibility to the bill. GAO believes that oversight improvement can be achieved by better planning and greater attention to the beginning of the legislation process, and would like to see the inclusion of a requirement to encourage Congress to state its objectives when authorizing new programs or reauthorizing existing programs. Because the amendment provides for selective review coverage, the inclusion of a requirement providing that committees identify the programs to be selected for reexamination in future Congresses would be useful These two additional requirements would aid in adding the discipline essential for assuring that information and analysis on programs are developed and presented to Congress so that it can act responsibly on proposals to continue, modify, or terminate programs and the legislation authorizing programs.

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