GAO Duplication Report Offers Roadmap to Cut Government Waste | Citizens Against Government Waste

GAO Duplication Report Offers Roadmap to Cut Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

            The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its 13th annual report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the federal government.  The June 2023 report provides 100 actions that could be taken by Congress and the executive branch to reduce costs and improve efficiency and effectiveness across the federal government.  Since the first report was issued in 2011, the GAO has identified 132 proposals for Congress and 1,753 recommendations for agencies that have saved taxpayers approximately $600 billion. 

            The GAO report included a recommendation to reduce the overlap and duplication that impacts every American who is unserved or underserved by broadband.  From fiscal year (FY) 2015 to FY 2020, the government spent $44 billion on broadband programs and deployment.  The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), enacted in 2021, included $65 billion to improve already existing broadband programs and to create new programs.  According to a May 31, 2022, GAO report, the federal government operates more than 130 broadband programs across 15 different federal agencies.  Unless the lack of coordination among the myriad federal broadband programs is resolved, the funding available for broadband, which FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has said could be up to $800 billion, will end up being wasted and fail to connect Americans who need and want to have access to the internet.

            The GAO also found that the Small Business Administration (SBA) could take more steps to recover millions of dollars that were paid to ineligible or fraudulent Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) applicants.  The RRF was created by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to alleviate the downturn in business that restaurants faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ARPA appropriated $28.6 billion for the RRF and tasked the SBA with awarding the funds, which were distributed to over 100,000 recipients.  However, a July 14, 2022, GAO report found that while the SBA quickly implemented the program and sent out the money, more steps could have been taken to “identify and respond to potentially fraudulent or ineligible awards.”  This failure to be proactive included ignoring recommendations from the SBA Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice that would have prevented fraudulent and improper payments.  While it is now well after the fact, the SBA can still recover millions of dollars by following the GAO’s advice.

            The GAO report also recommended that the government sell excess federal real property.  The federal government owns approximately 267,000 buildings and structures that cover over 1.9 billion square feet of office space, and the GAO has had excess federal real property on its High Risk List since 2003.  Currently, the process to sell unused and unneeded property is laden with red tape.  In 2017 the General Services Administration (GSA) released an extensive inventory of all federal real property.  This report is a good first step towards greater transparency and streamlining the process of identifying and selling excess property.  Selling excess federal real property is featured in Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) annual Prime Cuts, and it could save taxpayers $3 billion in one year and $15 billion over five years. 

            The GAO duplication report lays out commonsense, concrete ways that the government can reduce spending and improve efficiency.  As CAGW has recommended every year since GAO’s first duplication report was issued in 2011, legislators and federal agencies should act quickly on these recommendations to ensure that the taxpayers’ money is being spent effectively and efficiently instead of going to waste. 

Sign Up For Email Updates

Optional Member Code