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Strengthening Government Oversight: Examining the Roles and Effectiveness of Oversight Positions Within the Federal Workforce

Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342

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While Congress is the ultimate oversight body of the Executive Branch, that role cannot fall solely to Congress, especially given the dollars spent and scope of programs involved.  Without independent voices of oversight throughout the government, we have no hope for the level of accountability or transparency often required to maintain the public trust.  This issue is about identifying and rooting out government waste and inefficiency, but it’s also about ensuring that the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding Americans are taken into consideration during internal agency debates over budgets and policies.   

This hearing sought to examine the various positions within the federal government tasked with oversight duties, including inspectors general, privacy officers and the Office of Special Counsel.  It hit upon some of the obstacles currently preventing the performance of thorough and effective oversight – whether it be the number of vacant oversight positions across the government, a lack of resources devoted to oversight or the lack of authority or access provided to positions of oversight – and sought to identify potential solutions to such obstacles.