GAO: OMB Budget Authority Identification, Reports Could Aid Deficit Reduction Goals

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GAOThe Government Accountability Office has said the Office of Management and Budget should identify and publicly-report mandatory budget cuts in each fiscal year through 2025 in an effort to give Congress transparency and support required sequestration cuts of $1.2 billion over 10 years.

GAO reported Thursday the government had an estimated $2.9 trillion overall mandatory budget for fiscal 2014 and implemented $19.4 billion in sequestration-related cuts as mandated by OMB.

Those reductions amounted to less than 1 percent of mandatory budget authority, GAO said.

BudgetGAO reviewed Agriculture Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department and Transportation Department accounts that reported varied effects due to additional administrative activities required to apply the reductions.

Actual sequestered amounts for certain types of mandatory spending cannot be measured until a fiscal year ends because of the variable nature of indefinite budget authority, GAO said.

OMB officials said the BBEDCA does not require it to tally the subsequent availability of temporarily sequestered budget authority in certain accounts or aggregate government-wide data on the actual amounts sequestered.

GAO added that this data — once recorded and compiled — could potentially serve as a benchmark to evaluate the progress made each year towards the overall savings goal.

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