Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed how the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, the General Services Administration's Interagency Fleet Management System and Public Building Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey plan and budget for fixed assets, focusing on: (1) these agencies' perception of how the budget process affects their capital acquisitions; (2) whether there are funding mechanisms that might be helpful in planning and budgeting for fixed assets; and (3) the responses to the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Bulletin 94-08 on planning and budgeting for the acquisition of fixed assets.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress should consider enabling agencies to use more flexible budgeting mechanisms that accommodate up-front funding over the longer term while providing appropriate oversight and control. For agencies having proven financial management and capital planning capabilities and relatively small and ongoing capital needs, these techniques could include revolving funds and investment components.||In its actions on agencies' FY 1998 budgets, Congress took action consistent with this recommendation. In addition, since providing upfront funding would require more resources under the discretionary caps and no relevant cap adjustment was made in the 1997 amendments to the Budget Enforcement Act, further action on this front is unlikely.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of Management and Budget||1. The Director, OMB, should continue the OMB top-level focus on fixed asset acquisitions to include working with agencies and Congress to promote flexible budgetary mechanisms that help agencies accommodate the consistent application of up-front funding requirements while maintaining opportunities for appropriate congressional oversight and control.|
|Office of Management and Budget||2. As OMB continues to integrate Government Performance and Results Act requirements into the budget process, the Director, OMB, should ensure that agencies' capital plans flow from and are based upon their strategic and annual performance plans.|
|Office of Management and Budget||3. OMB should continue its efforts to ensure that cost, schedule, and performance goals are monitored as required by the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.|