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H.R. 3581 (112th): Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2012

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

2/7/2012--Passed House amended. Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2012 - Title I: Fair Value Estimates - (Sec. 101) Amends the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA) (title V of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 [CBA]) to revise the budgetary treatment of federal direct loans and loan guarantees to account for them on a fair value basis (currently, a FCRA accrual basis).

Requires the President's budget from FY1992 on to reflect the Treasury discounting component of direct loan and loan guarantee programs. Defines the "Treasury discounting component" as the estimated long-term cost to the federal government of a direct loan or loan guarantee (or modification) calculated on a net present value basis, excluding administrative costs and any incidental effects on governmental receipts or outlays.

Revises other requirements for the President's budget, beginning with FY2015, including conditions for new direct loans or loan guarantee commitments. Requires new budget authority for such loans or loan guarantee commitments to be provided in advance in an appropriation Act.

Exempts a direct loan or loan guarantee program that constitutes an entitlement (such as the guaranteed student loan program or the veteran's home loan guaranty program), all existing credit programs of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), or any direct loan or loan guarantee made by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) (government-sponsored enterprises or GSEs) from: (1) the above requirement, and (2) the prohibition against modification of an outstanding direct loan or loan guarantee in a manner that increases its costs unless budget authority for the additional cost has been provided in advance in an appropriation Act.

Repeals the general authorization of appropriations to federal agencies for the cost associated with such direct loan obligations or loan guarantee commitments.

Revises requirements for Treasury transactions with financing accounts (nonbudget accounts associated with each program account which holds balances, receives the cost payment from the program account, and also includes all other cash flows to and from the federal government resulting from direct loan obligations or loan guarantee commitments made on or after October 1, 1991). Limits the availability of amounts in liquidating accounts to specified payments resulting from direct loan obligations or loan guarantee commitments made before October 1, 1991. (Sec. 103) Amends the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act) to treat a change in discretionary spending solely as a result of the amendment to title V of the CBA made by this Act as a change of concept (requiring adjustments to discretionary spending limits). Requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), before adjusting such discretionary spending limits, to report to the congressional budget committees on the amount of that adjustment, the methodology used in determining it, and a program-by-program itemization of its components. Prohibits OMB from making such an adjustment until 60 days after making such a report. Title II: Budgetary Treatment - (Sec. 201) Requires each of the Directors of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to study and make recommendations to the congressional budget committees on the feasibility of applying fair value concepts to budgeting for the costs of federal insurance programs.

(Sec. 202) Requires the receipts and disbursements, including the administrative expenses, of the GSEs to be counted as new budget authority, outlays, receipts, or deficit or surplus for purposes of: (1) the President's budget, (2) the congressional budget, and (3) the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act.

(Sec. 203) Terminates mandatory on-budget status treatment for a GSE after all of the following occurs: (1) its conservatorship has been terminated; (2) the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has certified in writing that the GSE has repaid to the federal government the maximum amount consistent with minimizing the total federal cost of the financial assistance provided to the GSE; and (3) its charter has been revoked, annulled, or terminated and its authorizing statute has been repealed.

Title III: Budget Review and Analysis - (Sec. 301) Requires OMB to: (1) study the history of offsetting collections against expenditures and the amount of receipts collected annually, especially the historical application of the budgetary terms "revenue," "offsetting collections," and "offsetting receipts"; and (2) review the application of those terms and make recommendations to the congressional budget committees on whether such usage should be continued or modified.

Requires CBO to review the history and the recommendations and submit its own comments and recommendations to those committees.

(Sec. 302) Requires any federal agency, whenever it prepares and submits written budget justification materials for any congressional committee, to post them on the same day as its submission on the "open" page of its public website.

Requires OMB to: (1) post the budget justification in a centralized location on its website in an OMB developed format, and (2) notify each federal agency of the format in which to post it.