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Budget Policy: Issues in Capping Mandatory Spending

AIMD-94-155 Published: Jul 18, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1994.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether the implementation of a budgetary cap on mandatory spending is a practical way to control the growth of mandatory programs.


Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress may wish to consider a process under which it periodically assesses mandatory spending and votes on whether and/or how to change mandatory programs to reduce spending. In this process, Congress would examine the causes of growth in mandatory spending and consider changes in the underlying design and benefits structure of mandatory programs to achieve reductions in spending if deemed appropriate.
Closed – Not Implemented
Separate legislative proposals to establish periodic lookback procedures with respect to deficit reduction progress, including mandatory spending levels, were offered but defeated on the floor of the House and the Senate during the summer of 1997. A motion to consider the lookback proposal offered by Senators Brownback and Kohl on June 27, 1997 as an amendment to the revenue reconciliation bill received 57 votes, failing to get the required 60 votes to waive Section 313(b)(1)(A) of the Congressional Budget Act. A different but related budget enforcement measure, H.R. 2003, was offered but rejected on the House floor on July 23, 1997 by a vote of 81-347. No further action is anticipated.

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