Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their sixth annual duplication report to Congress and the Executive Branch. GAO, which describes itself as "an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress,” has recommended, throughout its six reports, 544 cost-saving actions in over 200 areas of the Federal Government that would save taxpayers $125 billion if fully implemented.
Since the report’s implementation in 2011, GAO’s recommendations have saved taxpayers $56 billion, with estimated benefits to reach $69 billion through 2025. While GAO continues to find duplication, waste, and inefficiencies, it notes that policymakers are ignoring a majority of its recommendations.
GAO stated that, “53 percent of the actions directed to executive branch agencies and 62 percent of the actions directed to Congress that were identified in our 2011-2015 reports remain partially or not addressed…We estimate that tens of billions of additional dollars would be saved should Congress and executive branch agencies fully address our actions…”
Findings in the 2016 GAO report include:
- In FY2014 federal agencies paid over $1 billion to lease 186,00 vehicles. In that same year, “agencies paid about $8.7 million for vehicles that did not meet agency-set utilization criteria.”
- In FY2014 unobligated balances accounted for $870 billion of the federal government’s $2.3 trillion in unused funding. Unobligated balances are funds that agencies are sitting on that could be used more efficiently elsewhere. “Financial benefits could be as much as the $40 million and $440 million in excess unobligated balances GAO identified in the Energy and State accounts.”
- In FY2014, the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) program provided nearly $3 billion in benefits for work-related injuries, illnesses, or deaths for 243,000 federal workers and survivors. From FY2009 - FY2013 FECA made over $370 million in overpayments. “The estimated $371.5 million in FECA-related overpayments accounts for about 6 percent of the total Disability Insurance overpayments of more than $6.1 billion...”
- In FY2014, the Social Security Administration’s Disability Insurance (DI) program paid out $143 billion in payments to 11 million people. GAO found that during that same year, the program handed out $1.3 billion in overpayments to beneficiaries. “The average work-related overpayment per beneficiary was almost $12,000 [and] the average annual work-related waiver amount (overpayments that were waived) was about $8,800.”
- According to a 2012 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimate, the Federal Government spent about $1.2 billion annually on about 1.5 million mobile devices. OMB reported, “the federal government could have saved about $388 million in fiscal years 2013 through 2015 by consolidating or eliminating mobile device contracts.”
Previous reports have also identified:
- 44 job training programs, administered by nine different federal agencies across the federal bureaucracy, costing $30 billion.
- 56 federal programs to teach financial literacy at 20 different agencies.
- 209 STEM education programs, administered by at least 13 different agencies, costing $3.1 billion.
- 18 domestic food assistance programs administered by three different agencies, costing over $100 billion.
- At least nine federal programs tasked with researching and developing biofuels, costing taxpayers nearly $300 million annually.
Read the 2016 report here.
Do your own research to help uncover more waste, fraud and abuse here.