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House Budget Leaders Hail GAO Legal Opinion on White House Rescissions

December 12, 2018 / Charles S. Clark

At the end of a year in which the White House budget office began proposing cancellations of appropriated spending (rescissions), the Government Accountability Office has weighed in with a first-of-its-kind legal opinion protecting Congress’s powers of the purse when it comes to timing. The legal advisory released on Tuesday by GAO reviews the Nixon-era 1974 Impoundment Control Act, which allows the president to propose to rescind funding previously approved by Congress. Congress is required to be allowed 45 days to consider the request, and if lawmakers do not act to support the rescissions during that window, the request is denied.