Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the witnesses for coming before us to update this subcommittee on what the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have done to reduce wasted taxpayer dollars as a result of duplicative programs.
Mr. Shear, I am a big fan of the Government Accountability Office and the work it does to evaluate our government's performance and stewardship of American resources. I was extremely concerned when I read GAO's report from a couple years ago identifying 53 potentially overlapping programs across the SBA, USDA, Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A handful of these 53 were SBA and USDA loan programs, and I understand these two agencies along with the Administration have been working to improve coordination of programs and services. I am particularly interested to hear about these agencies' efforts in two areas. The first is performance measurement. GAO has made the case in a number of instances that agencies have been unable to produce consistent, reliable, and meaningful metrics on their programs' successes. This makes it incredibly difficult for an oversight body like Congress to make meaningful assessments and funding decisions.
My second area of interest is how SBA and USDA are collaborating at the local level to improve services for private lenders and for businesses in need of loans. This is where the rubber meets the road. It makes no difference what strategies are devised or MOUs signed at the headquarters level in Washington if they are not effectively implemented across agencies at the local level.
Now, almost two years after GAO's initial report was issued, I want to see how SBA and USDA services are more effectively helping businesses grow and generate new jobs.
I again thank the witnesses and look forward to their testimony.