Last night, the House unanimously passed the Good Accounting Obligation in Government (GAO-IG) Act. The bill requires federal agencies to report on the status of Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendations in their annual budget justification.
Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC), who introduced the GAO-IG act, said in a press release, “These changes represent potential savings of at least $87 billion for taxpayers as agencies will be forced to improve based on IG and GAO recommendations or will be required to provide justification for not implementing the recommendations.”
As of 2016, more than 15,000 recommendations from OIG and 8,000 from GAO remained open. “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,” says Walker.
Last month, GAO released its annual report on the nation’s fiscal health. Both GAO and CBO echoed that “absent policy changes, the federal government’s fiscal path is unsustainable.” GAO predicts the federal government will run trillion dollar annual deficits by 2020, and net interest alone is expected to soon engulf most of the federal government’s resources.
While Congress must address the major drivers of the debt – health care spending and Social Security – it is also important to save easy dollars that add up to significant amounts by implementing the thousands of recommendations made by government accountants at GAO and the OIGs. This bill aims to do just that, holding agencies accountable for recommendations that would make them run more efficiently and effectively.
With the release of an abysmal fiscal check up, Congress should be doing all it can to help fix our fiscal woes. Fortunately, the GAO-IG Act has bipartisan support in the Senate from Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the 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.