Legislation To Limit Yearend Spending

PAD-80-76: Published: May 5, 1980. Publicly Released: May 5, 1980.

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GAO reviewed and commented on two versions of legislation which would establish limitations on yearend spending through the apportionment process. One was an amendment to H.R. 4717, and the other was a separate act developed by the Office of Management and Budget. The proposed amendment was fully consistent with the intent of a previous GAO proposal. The act deviated from the proposal in several important respects. The areas of difference included: (1) a focus on a narrow portion of Federal spending, primarily salaries, travel, and contractual services, rather than the broader Government management perspective which GAO believes is needed; (2) a shifting of the analysis of and reporting on deviations from the Office of Management and Budget to the heads of the departments and agencies; (3) a limitation of the period of applicability to 2 years rather than the 3 years which GAO proposed; and (4) the fact that the reporting is after the fact, 90 days after the fiscal year, with no requirement to report on specific exemptions from the 20 percent limit. Such reports are important in order to document problems encountered with the limitations and to give Congress a chance to react to specific exemption actions during the year, if they desire.

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