title II—BUDGET PROCESS REFORM
Sec. 206. Codification of Law Regarding Deferral Authority.
(a) Proposed Deferrals of Budget Authority.—Section 1013 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is amended to read as follows:
“proposed deferrals of budget authority
“Sec. 1013. (a) Transmittal of Special Message.—Whenever the President, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the head of any department or agency of the United States, or any officer or employee of the United States proposes to defer any budget authority provided for a specific purpose or project, the President shall transmit to the House of Representatives and the Senate a special message specifying—
“(1) the amount of the budget authority proposed to be deferred;
“(2) any account, department, or establishment of the Government to which such budget authority is available for obligation, and the specific projects or governmental functions involved;
“(3) the period of time during which the budget authority is proposed to be deferred;
“(4) the reasons for the proposed deferral, including any legal authority invoked to justify the proposed deferral;
“(5) to the maximum extent practicable, the estimated fiscal, economic, and budgetary effect of the proposed deferral; and
“(6) all facts, circumstances, and considerations relating to or bearing upon the proposed deferral and the decision to effect the proposed deferral, including an analysis of such facts, circumstances, and considerations in terms of their application to any legal authority, including specific elements of legal authority, invoked to justify such proposed deferral, and to the maximum extent practicable, the estimated effect of the proposed deferral upon the objects, purposes, and programs for which the budget authority is provided.
A special message may include one or more proposed deferrals of budget authority. A deferral may not be proposed for any period of time extending beyond the end of the fiscal year in which the special message proposing the deferral is transmitted to the House and the Senate.
“(b) Consistency With Legislative Policy.—Deferrals shall be permissible only—
“(1) to provide for contingencies;
“(2) to achieve savings made possible by or through changes in requirements or greater efficiency of operations; or
“(3) as specifically provided by law.
No officer or employee of the United States may defer any budget authority for any other purpose.
“(c) Exception.—The provisions of this section do not apply to any budget authority proposed to be rescinded or that is to be reserved as set forth in a special message required to be transmitted under section 1012.”.
(b) Conforming Amendment.—The first sentence of section 1016 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 is amended by striking out “under section 1012(b) or 1013(b)” and by inserting in lieu thereof “under this title”.
(c) Reaffirmation.—Sections 1015 and 1016 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 are reaffirmed.
This section is not separately classified to the U.S. Code. The section amends section 1013 of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-344), which is classified to the U.S. Code at 2 U.S.C. 684.
Joint Explanatory Statement (BBEDCRA 1987)
The Joint Explanatory Statement of the Managers of Conference on the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 included this description:
9. Codification of Law Regarding Deferral Authority
The Supreme Court in Immigration and Naturalization v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), held legislative vetoes unconstitutional. Applying Chadha, the Court of Appeals in City of New Haven v. United States, 809 F. 2d 900 (D.C. Cir. 1987), struck down Section 1013 of the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, dealing with deferrals, thereby denying the President his sole statutory authority to make deferrals for policy reasons. The Court noted its view that the Executive’s power to defer was now limited to so-call programmatic deferrals under the Antideficiency Act, which it characterized as dealing with “routine” and “trivial” matters “relating to the normal and orderly operation of the Government that Congress expected to present little controversy.” The reporting requirements of Section 1013 have continued in force by virtue of other statutory reference to that section.
Section 1015 of the 1974 Impoundment Control Act directs the Comptroller General to report to Congress when he determines that the President has failed to transmit a special message with respect to a deferral or rescission, or has incorrectly classified an action in such message. Section 1016 of the Act empowers the Comptroller General to bring a civil action to require that unlawfully impounded budget authority be made available for obligation. The Comptroller General has expressed the view that he lacks authority to take any action to compel the release of impounded funds since such authority was linked to the invalidated Section 1013.
The Senate amendment (Section 229) enacts a new Section 1013 that codifies the New Haven decision and General Accounting Office administrative interpretations by prohibiting policy deferrals and providing that deferrals will be permissible only: (1) for contingencies, (2) for efficiency, or (3) as specifically provided for by law. Programmatic deferrals must be reported to the Congress and be accompanied by a detailed description and justification of the proposal. Deferrals may not be proposed for any period extending beyond the end of the fiscal year in which the proposal is reported.
The Senate amendment also reaffirms the Comptroller General’s authority under Sections 1015 and 1016 of the Act to initiate suits to compel the release of impounded funds and his duty to safeguard Congress’ institutional interest in the spending process.
The House recedes and concurs in the Senate amendment.
U.S. House of Representatives, Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987: Conference Report to Accompany H. J. Res. 324, House Ways and Means Committee (H. Rept. 100-313) September 21, 1987.