WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as part of its annual reporting to Congress, to submit a report listing unimplemented recommendations for congressional consideration and identify actions Congress can take to help agencies implement open recommendations from the GAO that can often help Congress improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars. The GAO, through its individual reports and Recommendations Database, provides information on unimplemented recommendations, but under current reporting requirements, does not submit a report consolidating and listing all unimplemented matters for congressional consideration, nor do their current annual letters to committees list actions Congress can take to help agencies implement open GAO recommendations.
“Recommendations from the Government Accountability Office that have not yet been implemented present missed opportunities for lawmakers and federal agencies to improve government accountability and effectiveness, as well as save taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Peters. “This important bipartisan bill will improve lawmakers’ ability to conduct oversight of the federal government by streamlining access to critical information, analysis, and recommendations provided by the GAO.”
The Improving Government for America’s Taxpayers Act will streamline how the GAO informs Congress of the status of unimplemented recommendations by requiring the GAO to submit an annual report listing unimplemented matters for congressional consideration, organized by policy topic, and including the amount of time the recommendations have been unimplemented. It also requires that the GAO’s annual letters to agencies and congressional committees identify congressional actions that can help agencies implement open GAO recommendations and publish any known costs of unimplemented recommendations.
Peters has led numerous efforts to improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars. He recently convened a hearing to ensure pandemic emergency relief funds have been effectively used to help Americans affected by COVID-19. Peters’ bipartisan bill to save taxpayer dollars by ensuring federal property assets are disaster resilient has advanced in the Senate. As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Peters secured $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund to modernize federal government systems that deliver critical services, like unemployment insurance, to Americans. Peters’ provision to help save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals was signed into law last Congress. A law written by Peters to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGAByte Act has saved taxpayers more than $450 million since 2016.