The federal government is a colossal and complex entity that is anything but efficient. Fortunately, the federal government employs thousands of accountants to help federal agencies and programs run as effectively and efficiently as possible. In the business world, accountants tell decision-makers how this or that facet of business could run better or be made more profitable, and those same decision-makers would likely accept their recommendations, for the sake of the business. However, federal agencies are not required to do the same.
According to a bipartisan coalition hoping to change this practice, “As of 2016, there were more than 15,000 open and unimplemented federal agency recommendations from the [Inspector General] and more than 8,000 open [Government Accountability Office] federal agency recommendations.”
Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) recently introduced the Good Accounting Obligation in Government (GAO-IG) Act that would “save taxpayer money and bring needed accountability to federal agencies by requiring them to report on the status of GAO and OIG recommendations in their annual budget justification.” The bill also has bipartisan support in the Senate from Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Walker says the GAO-IG Act will force agencies to improve or provide justification as to why they are not following government accountants’ recommendations. “Taxpayers are having their hard-earned money wasted by federal bureaucrats who have been told how to improve and become more efficient, but refuse to follow recommendations,” Walker said. According to Walker’s press release, taxpayers could expect to save at least $87 billion if this legislation is signed into law.
This comes on the heels of the recently released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 10-year outlook that projects the federal government to run trillion dollar annual deficits by 2020. While Congress must address the major drivers of the debt – health care spending and Social Security – it is also important to save easy dollars by implementing the thousands of recommendations made by government accountants at GAO and the OIGs.
With the release of an abysmal fiscal check up, Congress should be doing all it can to help fix our fiscal woes. Consensus on a bill like the bipartisan GAO-IG Act will help stave off some of the challenges our federal agencies face today. Hopefully these federal agencies will finally get the memo – it’s time to do things efficiently and effectively for the sake of our future.