July 22, 2014

GAO Calls for Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness in "High Risk" Areas

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported at least some improvements over the last two years in areas of the federal government that it has designated as “high risk” for waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse.

But in a new report, the GAO says it has removed only two of the 30 high-risk designations it detailed two years ago: the 2010 Census and the Pentagon’s Personnel Security Clearance Program.

More work is still needed in many other areas. Improper Medicare and Medicaid payments, for example, apparently cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year. In addition, the GAO named a new high-risk area: the Interior Department’s Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resources, where problems include uncertainty that the government is collecting an appropriate amount of revenue.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Gene L. Dodaro, the comptroller general of the United States and head of the GAO, urged Congress and the White House to monitor and reform these programs.

“Closing our nation’s fiscal gap will require broader budgetary changes and shared contributions,” he wrote. “Greater efficiency and effectiveness in government can help ease that burden on the American people while preserving vital programs of importance to us all.”