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The new Biden administration budget includes a flat Defense Department topline and increases for most civilian agencies. If historic trends hold, though, almost $24 billion of the money agencies get will go back to the Treasury at the end of the fiscal year.

  • Jeff Arkin, Acting Director of Strategic Issues at the Government Accountability Office, said agencies should review funding for risk of cancelled appropriations during their standard budget processes, ensure contracts are on target and monitor any money provided to grantees through grant programs.
  • Arkin said one reason agencies give appropriated money back is that they do not need as much money as they anticipated; for example, the Department of Agriculture may not need as much funding for its food stamps programs if the economy improves.
  • Arkin said it is important that agencies minimize cancelled appropriations to increase budget process effectiveness and congressional decision making.
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