The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is helping Federal agencies to save taxpayer money on duplicative programs, offices, and initiatives, saving roughly $600 billion since GAO began this work in 2011 – with more cost-saving opportunities available.
GAO issues annual reports highlighting these duplicative efforts, and this year’s report identifies 100 new recommendations in 35 new topic areas for Congress or Federal agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.
Nearly $47 billion of the claimed $600 billion in cost savings took place in fiscal year 2022. However, GAO said that it estimates “tens of billions more dollars could be saved by fully implementing our remaining open matters and recommendations that we have identified as having potential for financial benefits.”
At a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing last week, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told members of Congress that GAO has made over 1,800 recommendations, and 74 percent have been fully or partially implemented.
“There’s much more to do though and tens of billions of additional dollars that can be saved,” Dodaro said. “This year’s report we recommend 100 new actions. For example, one is there are over 130 programs administered by 15 different agencies for expanding broadband throughout the country.”
“These are all worthwhile efforts, but they could be better coordinated,” he continued. “We’ve recommended a national strategy where you could actually better measure [and] make sure there’s good coordination.”
Dodaro also pointed to disaster recovery and response efforts, noting that there are 30 different Federal departments and agencies that are involved in disaster assistance, and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “is stretched very thin.”
“There needs to be a comprehensive look again at better ways to be able to deal with people who are affected by disaster,” he said. “So we’ve recommended that that be taken a fresh look at and have a good reassessment.”
According to the GAO report, another example of an open topic area with potential financial benefits includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services better-adjusting payments for differences between Medicare Advantage plans and traditional Medicare providers in the reporting of beneficiary diagnoses.
Another key area includes the IRS enhancing enforcement and service capabilities to help “reduce the gap between taxes owed and paid by collecting tax revenue and facilitating voluntary compliance.”