Why is Congress Cutting the Budget of Agency that Saves Billions of Dollars?

Monday, September 26, 2011
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, saved the U.S. government $50 billion last year as a result of its audits. For every dollar GAO received in funding, it saves the U.S. Treasury $87—and yet, Congress wants to chop the agency’s budget.
As part of its efforts to shrink the size of government, House Republicans slashed GAO’s next budget request by $46 million. GAO supporters expected the Senate to come to the rescue. But instead, the Democratic-controlled Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch went the House one step worse, cutting another $7 million from the watchdog’s funding…from $557 million to $504 million.
The GAO may have to lay off employees if the budget cut goes into effect.
David Walker, who headed the agency from 1998 to 2008, told Huffington Post: “GAO generates one of the highest returns on investments of any governmental entity in the world, and that needs to be recognized.”
Sam Rosen-Amy, a federal fiscal policy analyst at OMB Watch, told the Project on Government Oversight: “If Congress is really serious about streamlining the government and saving money, it should be increasing, not decreasing, the GAO budget and also listening to their recommendations.” According to GAO’s most recent annual report, 82% of its recommendations were implemented by federal agencies of by Congress.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
GAO Saves Government Billions, Faces $50 Million Budget Cut (by Dana Liebelson, Project on Government Oversight)
Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)


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