CAGW Releases Statement on 2014 GAO Duplication Report

For Immediate Release Contact: Alexandra Booze 202-467-5318
April 8, 2014  


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) expressed support for the recommendations made in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) fourth annual report on duplicative federal programs, which was published this morning.  The report, “Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits,” also announced it will be updating its searchable website, Action Tracker, which will provide the implementation status of each recommendation made in all four reports. GAO found that federal budget information is often unavailable or too inefficient to identify the level of funding provided to programs, often making it difficult to even assess or address potential duplication. Since 2011, GAO has identified 188 areas and approximately 440 actions that touch virtually all federal departments and agencies.

GAO found 11 agencies that spend more than $1.2 billion on autism research.  In fact, of the more than 1,000 autism research projects funded by federal agencies between fiscal years 2008 to 2012, 84 percent were found to be duplicative.  The report identified 12 dedicated satellite control networks operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) with 10 different satellite programs located at one Air Force base alone, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  The GAO also uncovered 117,000 individuals that received concurrent cash benefit payments from unemployment and disability insurance in FY 2010, totaling more than $850 million.

In regard to potential cost savings, GAO recommended that Congress pass two bipartisan bills, The Let Me Google That For You Act, introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and The Taxpayers Right to Know Act, introduced by Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and passed in the House on February 25, 2014.  A Senate version of the bill, S. 2113, was also introduced by Sen. Coburn.  Previously endorsed by CCAGW, The Taxpayers Right to Know Act would require federal agencies to provide taxpayers with an annual report card for each of its programs and disclose overlap and performance measures.  The GAO report identifies 26 areas of “fragmentation, overlap, and duplication,” and presents a total of 45 opportunities for the executive branch agencies and Congress to take actions to reduce the cost of government operations and enhance revenue collections for the Treasury across 15 areas of government.  Many of the areas GAO targeted are also of concern to CAGW, including the disposition of federal real property, improper payments in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, as well as the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) online taxpayer services, which, if enhanced, could save hundreds of millions of dollars.   

“Reducing and eliminating duplication and overlap throughout federal agencies and departments can only occur with leadership from executive branch officials and continued oversight by Congress,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “GAO continues to do taxpayers a great service by identifying practical, achievable goals that will increase government transparency and cut down on the number of duplicative, fragmented, and wasteful government programs.  Hopefully, such recommendations will spur Washington lawmakers to reign in their wasteful spending habits.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government

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