During a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Government Accountability Office’s annual report focused on additional opportunities to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in the federal government, Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said diligent oversight of the programs, agencies, and activities currently being funded is key to addressing these issues.
“It is no secret that the federal government spends beyond its means. Our national debt has eclipsed $21 trillion, and the Congressional Budget Office projects annual deficits will soon return to more than $1 trillion,” Enzi said. “Key to addressing this chronic overspending is diligent oversight of the programs, agencies, and activities currently being funded. That means routinely reviewing programs and reauthorizing, reforming, or eliminating them as appropriate. It also means getting appropriations bills done on time and not resigning ourselves to massive, catch-all spending bills that are subject to little review from the body.”
Enzi noted that GAO’s annual report on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication is one tool on which Congress can and should rely. Each year the GAO calls attention to numerous examples of inefficiency and redundancy across the government. One example is graduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or “STEM,” education. GAO began highlighting duplication in these programs in its 2012 report, and does so again this year. In 2016, 13 federal agencies spent approximately $3 billion on 163 different STEM education programs.
“A key feature of GAO’s report is that it doesn’t just highlight problems – it identifies solutions,” Enzi said. “By acting on the recommendations in this report, Congress and federal agencies have the potential to improve government performance and stewardship of taxpayer dollars. This is a goal I believe both parties share, and I hope we can work together to advance solutions to the problems identified in this report.”