WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management (FSO) Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), held a hearing to review the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2019 Annual Duplication Report, which the GAO released today.
“This is GAO’s ninth duplication report, each shedding light on some truly troubling examples of waste,” Dr. Paul remarked in his opening statement, noting that “[t]his report is no exception” before going on to cite instances of problems with fragmentation, overlap, coordination, and waste in foreign aid, federally funded research in quantum computing and synthetic biology, the Department of Defense, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
In addition to stating his hope that “we can act quickly to address the findings of this report,” Dr. Paul also called for an assessment of the duplicative effects of legislation to be included in Congressional Budget Office cost estimates in the future, a reform he has most recently included in his Penny Plan balanced budget proposals.
“In our first eight reports, we made over 800 recommendations for congressional and executive branch action,” U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro stated in his testimony, adding that “54% have been implemented fully already” and “[a]nother 23% partially implemented,” with “financial benefits realized of $262 billion already that either have accrued or will accrue as a result of implementation of the recommendations.”
“The culture of government is to spend money and to make payments as fast as possible, and that culture needs to change, and we need to be more careful in how we go about these activities. The only thing I’ve found successful is rigorous congressional oversight and forcing the agencies to explain why they’re not taking action on some of these recommendations,” Mr. Dodaro later said to the FSO Subcommittee.
In its 2019 report, which you can find HERE, the GAO “identifies 98 new actions that Congress or executive branch agencies can take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government in 28 new areas and 11 existing areas,” with the agency estimating “tens of billions of additional dollars” in savings if its remaining open recommendations from prior reports and the 98 new items are fully implemented.