Budget Process:

Use and Impact of Rescission Procedures

T-OCG-93-5: Published: Mar 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1993.

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GAO discussed its role in the congressional rescission process and the use and impact of rescissions. GAO noted that: (1) its role in the congressional rescission process included reviewing and reporting to Congress on the President's impoundment messages, monitoring the status of funds affected by presidential impoundment messages, monitoring the 45-day rescission time limit and ensuring the prompt release of funds following congressional disapproval or rescission expiration, and providing statistical summaries and analyses of the impoundment process; (2) since 1974, Congress has accepted about a third of the proposed presidential rescissions and has enacted its own rescissions for a combined total of $86 billion; (3) rescissions could not be expected to substantially reduce the budget deficit, because its authority was limited to discretionary spending; (4) rescinded budget authority has had negligible impact on annual deficits and has not constituted more than 3 percent of the annual deficit in a single year; and (5) proposed changes to the current rescission process include enhanced presidential authority to rescind enacted budget authority unless Congress specifically disapproves, and expedited rescission to ensure rapid and formal consideration of presidential rescission proposals.

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