The U.S. Senate unanimously approved Sen. Tom Carper's (D-Del.) bipartisan legislation early Saturday morning that would help the work of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. The GAO Mandates Revision Act (S. 3315) would modify a specific set of unnecessary and outdated congressionally-mandated GAO audits and reviews. The bill, which was introduced in June, is cosponsored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine).
"The Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivers Members of Congress, our staffs and the public invaluable information and research on bills, programs, initiatives and issues throughout the federal government," said Sen. Carper. "GAO reports help those of us in government -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- do our jobs better and help us make our government more efficient, effective, and productive. That's why it is so important that we don't weigh down this research powerhouse with unnecessary and outdated reviews, audits, and exams, which can take months -- even years -- to complete. My bill would streamline the requirements that Congress places on the Government Accountability Office, allowing this critical agency to continue to focus its limited resources on its most important work and help Americans get a better bang for their buck."
Congress often requests that the GAO perform an examination of a program, agency or other federal activity. Sometimes these GAO exams and audits are established in law as an annual review with no end date. However, in several cases, the program under study could end or the importance of the review could wane, yet the GAO is still required to continue its review until Congress changes its original statute. This problem leads to duplicative or unnecessary work for GAO, which often results in long delays for Congress to receive new GAO work. The GAO Mandates Revision Act lists eight outdated projects proposed by GAO to cancel or modify.