GAO Report Offers Solutions to Duplicative and Overlapping Expenditures | Citizens Against Government Waste

GAO Report Offers Solutions to Duplicative and Overlapping Expenditures

The WasteWatcher

Since 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released an annual report documenting opportunities for Congress and the executive branch to reduce duplicative and wasteful spending programs.  To date, the 1,299 recommendations implemented by Congress and the executive branch have resulted in $552 billion in savings to taxpayers.  Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has publicized this annual report constantly since it was first released and has often asked Congress to act on the recommendations.

The 2022 annual report, released on May 11, highlighted 94 new actions in 21 new areas and nine existing areas where the federal government could “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.”  These reforms, if implemented, would cut billions of dollars in wasteful spending, and reduce the size of our bloated government.

The GAO report made two recommendations to reduce the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II.  First, Congress should require annual reports on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efforts to increase affordability.  Second, Congress should make the acquisition of future units “contingent on DOD’s progress in achieving F-35 affordability constraints.”  As CAGW has stated many times, the JSF is one of the biggest boondoggles in the history of the DOD. 

Lengthy delays in processing tax returns have been plaguing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) since the middle of 2021.  The GAO suggests that the IRS should do more to determine the cause of backlogs relating to tax returns, take steps to reduce the amount of interest paid on tax refunds, and modernize aspects of the tax return process, which would not only improve taxpayer services, but also save the agency at least $20 million annually.  As CAGW has noted, making these improvements will help millions of Americans receive the tax refunds they are owed as the agency reduces bloat and inefficient practices that have resulted in a significant backlog in processing tax returns.  

In another recommendation projected to save billions of dollars over the next five years, the GAO recommended that the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB) “further its Category Management to improve how agencies buy common goods and services.”  This reform focuses the creation of various performance metrics that will allow for greater cost savings across the federal government by encouraging agencies to manage their contracting mechanisms in a more efficient manner.  Moreover, the GAO report notes, this proposal would allow the OMB to “potentially eliminate duplicative contracts.”  While this commonsense process would be routine in the private sector, it is unfortunately an ongoing problem in the federal government.

If adopted, the recommendations highlighted in the 2022 report would add to the $522 billion in savings that have been achieved to date.  Congress should take the time to consider and act on these proposals, which would help to reduce wasteful spending and perhaps make members of Congress slightly less unpopular.

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