The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation's primary medical and behavioral research agency. NIH's need for leased space has more than doubled since 1996 to about 3.9 million square feet in 2005. In 1996, General Services Administration (GSA) delegated leasing authority to NIH that includes performing budget scoring and prospectus analysis. In light of NIH's increased use of leased space, GAO was asked to address two issues: (1) Is NIH complying with budget scorekeeping guidelines and Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) requirements for implementing the guidelines to determine if a lease should be classified as operating or capital and ensure that no violations of the Antideficiency Act occur because of improper budget scorekeeping? and (2) Is NIH complying with the congressional prospectus process for both leases and alterations to leased buildings? To address these issues we interviewed leasing and financial officials, reviewed laws and reviewed budget scoring and prospectus analysis of 59 leases.
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