Funds Available for Obligation to Coast Guard Account

Gao ID: OGC-82-15 June 9, 1982

Earlier this year, GAO reported a deferral of approximately $217 million in budget authority provided for the Coast Guard's acquisition, construction, and improvement account which should have been, but was not, reported to Congress by the executive branch.

GAO found that the Department of Transportation Appropriation Act alters the normal operation of the Impoundment Control Act by applying the procedural aspects of the Act normally applicable to proposed rescissions to any deferrals submitted for the accounts. The deferred funds could be withheld from obligation only during the 45-day statutory period, unless Congress acted to approve all or part of the deferral. When that 45-day period had expired, Congress had not passed a bill approving the deferral. Accordingly, the funds must be made available for obligation. The basis of the GAO conclusion that funds were being deferred was that the funds were programed to apply to fiscal year 1983 requirements. This was an action contrary to the usual practice of the Coast Guard and taken in anticipation of a reduced fiscal year 1983 budget request. GAO has been advised that a plan to use the funds in fiscal year 1983 has been submitted for Office of Management and Budget approval. If approval is not forthcoming shortly, GAO will begin appropriate action to ensure that the funds are made available for obligation.

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