Impoundments Resulting from the President's Proposed Rescissions of October 28, 2005
B-307122,B-307122.2, Mar 2, 2006
On October 28, 2005, the President transmitted to Congress a proposal to rescind $2.3 billion of available funding to offset the cost of Hurricane Katrina relief. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the proposal called for cancellations, not rescissions, from 53 different federal programs and therefore the proposal did not trigger the Impoundment Control Act's reporting requirements that a special Impoundment Message be transmitted to the Congress. Because the Comptroller General is responsible under the Impoundment Control Act for monitoring impoundments of budget authority, GAO contacted each agency affected by the President's proposal to determine whether they were withholding budget authority from obligation in response to the President's proposal. Notwithstanding the President's characterization of his proposals as cancellations GAO found that agencies withheld over $470 million in budget authority from obligation, affecting 12 programs, for approximately 2 months. The agencies' withholding in these 12 instances constituted impoundments that should have been reported to the Congress under the Impoundment Control Act.