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December 10, 2015
Implementing GAO and OIG Recommendations Could Save Tens of Billions in Government Waste
Lankford Hearing Highlights Success of Auditing Offices and Great Potential for Further Savings for Taxpayer
WASHINGTON, DC – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, under the chairmanship of Senator James Lankford (R-OK), today held a hearing to examine the government efficiency and cost-saving recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the federal agency Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs), the primary auditing offices of the federal government. Specifically, the hearing highlighted the billions of dollars that have been saved by implementing these recommendations, and the billions more that could be saved from recommendations that have not been implemented by agencies.
“With a massive $19 trillion federal debt and a half-a-trillion dollar deficit, the federal government must identify and eliminate inefficiencies, duplication and wasteful spending wherever they exist,” said Lankford. “The Government Accountability Office and Offices of Inspectors General do great work studying and finding opportunities for savings, and some of them have been highlighted in my own waste report – Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball. GAO saved taxpayers $74 billion last year; and has saved half-a-trillion dollars since 2003. However, approximately 20 percent of the GAO recommendations, and billions more in savings, are still unaddressed. We cannot ignore obvious solutions to our deficit.
“Multiple Members of Congress, including Senators Jeff Flake and Dan Coats and Rep. Steve Russell, have highlighted areas of government waste, but these GAO and OIG reports have also made a strong case for specific areas of duplication and needed reforms. Congress and the Executive Branch should do more to implement OIG and GAO recommendations to help address Washington’s out-of-control federal spending.”
Since 2003, GAO’s work has resulted in over 1/2 trillion dollars in financial benefits and about 17,000 program efficiency reforms. According to a report, about 81% of GAO recommendations have been implemented between 1983 and 2008.
Since 1990, GAO has regularly issued a ‘High Risk List’ that identifies federal programs that are especially vulnerable to fraud, waste, and mismanagement. Unfortunately, only one-third of the items on the list have been addressed in 25 years.
During his opening statement, the Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of GAO said, “Since fiscal year 2010, GAO’s work has resulted in over $330 billion in financial benefits and over 8,000 program and operational benefits. In fiscal year 2015 alone, GAO’s work yielded $74.7 billion in financial accomplishments—a return of about $134 for every dollar invested in GAO.”
Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, said, “…OIGs recover substantial funds as a result of their investigative work. Together, the recommendations and investigative recoveries of the IG Community result in significant improvements to the economy and efficiency of programs across the government, with potential savings totaling approximately $46.5 billion in fiscal year 2014.”