WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, led a Subcommittee hearing on cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. The hearing focused on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) most recent annual report detailing duplication, overlap, and fragmentation and ways for Congress and federal agencies to address these issues.
To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.
In her opening remarks, Senator Hassan stated, “Congress and executive agencies’ actions to address the nearly 1,300 recommendations made in these annual reports have not only saved taxpayer dollars, but also have improved agency performance and resource management, and led to better delivery of services to the American people. I remain firmly committed to ensuring that Congress does its part to eliminate duplication, overlap, and fragmentation to achieve cost savings for taxpayers and improve program outcomes.”
During the hearing, Senator Hassan questioned the head of the GAO, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, on the GAO’s most recent recommendations.
Senator Hassan asked Dodaro about the recommendation for the Department of Energy to run a pilot program to examine alternative ways to dispose of nuclear waste. Dodaro discussed the Energy Department’s work to try to dispose of the waste both safely and efficiently, and urged Congress to help this project move forward.
In addition, the report detailed 200 federal programs across 21 agencies that are all related to combating diet-related chronic health conditions. Senator Hassan raised the need to consolidate duplicative programs, and Dodaro discussed the importance of Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill to require agencies to identify duplicative or unnecessary programs and work with Congress to eliminate them.
Senator Hassan also addressed the IRS’ tax return backlog that is hurting Granite State families and small businesses. “In particular, the backlog has been fueled by the fact that IRS requires amended tax returns to be filed on paper. In the 2019 duplication report, GAO recommended that Congress authorize IRS to add a scannable barcode to forms filled out on a computer, but submitted on paper. This would allow IRS to process returns more quickly and reduce data input errors, which could save millions of dollars every year. My legislation with Ranking Member Paul would give IRS this authority, and I will continue to urge my colleagues to consider taking up this commonsense reform,” said Senator Hassan.
The hearing is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to save taxpayer dollars and cut waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. The 2020 government funding bill that was passed into law included Senator Hassan’s Oversight.gov Authorization Act, which permanently established an online hub of information about Inspectors General and their work. The funding bill also included the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to curb federal improper payments to the deceased and save taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, in 2019, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers approximately $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.