Skip to main content

Impoundment Control Act: Use and Impact of Rescission Procedures

GAO-10-320T Published: Dec 16, 2009. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2009.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights


The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (ICA) was enacted to tighten congressional control over presidential impoundments and establish a procedure under which Congress could consider the merits of rescissions proposed by the President. Under the ICA the President may propose a rescission when he wishes to withhold funds from obligation permanently or submit a deferral when the withholding of funds is temporary. Funds proposed for rescission may be withheld from obligation for 45 days of continuous congressional session. If Congress does not approve the rescission during this period, the President must release the funds on the 46th day. The ICA also provides a special discharge procedure permitting 20 percent of the members of either house to force a floor vote on any presidential rescission proposal. In March 2009, at the request of the Chairman and Vice Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, we prepared statistical data concerning rescissions proposed and enacted since the passage of the ICA in 1974. As requested by the Subcommittee, this testimony discusses the use and impact of the rescission procedures under the ICA and includes the statistical data we prepared earlier this year.

Full Report

Office of Public Affairs