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Funding Gaps Jeopardize Federal Government Operations

PAD-81-31 Published: Mar 03, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 03, 1981.
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Interruptions in federal agency funding at the beginning of the fiscal year (FY) and operations on continuing resolutions have become the norm rather than the exception. During the normal deliberations process on appropriations for FY 1981, it became clear that a funding gap might develop. In response to the President's request for an opinion on the Antideficiency Act, the Attorney General ruled that the act required agencies to terminate all operations when their current appropriations expired. In addition, the Attorney General stated that the Department of Justice would strictly enforce the criminal provisions of the act in cases of future willful violations.


Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress should consider shifting more programs to authorization and appropriations cycles of 2 or more years.
Closed – Implemented
Congress still has not passed a 2-year appropriation. Since this report is 7 years old, this case should be closed.
Congress should consider establishing and adhering to a reserve for fall and spring adjustments for emergencies and uncontrollable cost growth.
Closed – Not Implemented
Congress asked for an additional study of the means of addressing the problem that differ from this recommendation. Basically, Congress rejected this recommendation and is assessing other means of dealing with the problem, such as a permanent continuing resolution and changes in the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.
Congress should enact permanent legislation to allow all agencies to incur obligations, but not expend funds, when appropriations expire, except where program authorization has expired or Congress has expressly stated that a program should be suspended during a funding hiatus pending further legislative action.
Closed – Not Implemented
Senator Ford introduced S. 286 on January 12, 1987. GAO is not commenting on the bill at this time.

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