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GAO's Long To Do List

By Ed O'Keefe

Facing a growing list of investigation requests from lawmakers and congressional committees, the Government Accountability Office asked Congress last month for $567.5 million for fiscal year 2010, a 6.9 percent increase over this year's budget. The watchdog agency also hopes to increase the size of its staff to 3,250 full-timers, a 3.5 percent boost.

"Demand for GAO’s analysis and advice continues to be strong, and it has steadily increased since fiscal year 2005," according to the agency's budget request. It has received requests or mandated work from every House and Senate committee and more than 80 percent of their subcommittees.

"As a result of the increased demand, it is taking GAO longer to respond to congressional requests," the GAO states. "In fiscal year 2008, we delayed starting work on about 21 percent of the requests we accepted due to staff unavailability."

With that in mind, peruse the GAO's FY 2010 to-do list below, as provided in its official Fiscal Year 2010 Performance Plan:

Over the next several years, our work will encompass critical areas, including:

• carrying out the range of responsibilities assigned to GAO in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), including bi-monthly reviews of how selected states and localities across the country use the billions of dollars of funds provided, and targeted studies in several areas such as small business lending, education, and trade adjustment assistance;

• monitoring the implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) created in late 2008, reporting every 60 days, and conducting an annual financial audit of the $700 billion authorized for the program;

• helping to support Congress’ consideration of changes in the regulatory structure for financial markets and institutions, including the establishment and implementation of controls to prevent a recurrence of the current financial crisis;

• conducting financial audits of the Internal Revenue Service, Schedule of Federal Debt, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Banks;

• reviewing the revised governance structure for the housing market and providing targeted analyses to inform decisionmakers working to restore the functioning of the mortgage market and the ultimate disposition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;

• identifying elements to help address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenge, including social security, health care, tax reform, opportunities to reduce spending, and reducing the gap between taxes owed and taxes collected;

• reviewing efforts to stabilize and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan and other regions in conflict, including reviewing the impact of drawing down resources in Iraq, providing more resources to Afghanistan, and retooling operations in Pakistan;

• testifying to the Congress in response to recent changes in House rules requiring each standing committee or subcommittee to hold at least one hearing on issues raised by GAO indicating that federal programs or operations authorized by the committee are at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement;

• assessing contractor management, sourcing strategies and contracting reforms;

• reviewing the Census Bureau’s progress in implementing key activities for the 2010 Census;

• assessing efforts to protect the homeland, including efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of terrorism and other natural or man-made disasters, secure the border while facilitating legitimate trade and travel; protect all modes of transportation, and strengthen the sharing of intelligence and terrorism-related information;

• identifying systemic issues that affect DOD’s acquisition of weapon systems, including cost growth and schedule delays, as well as key management practices and policies;

• monitoring the Food and Drug Agency’s ability to oversee the safety and effectiveness of medical products marketed in the United States, including prescription drugs and medical devices, and assessing the agency’s progress in addressing identified shortcomings that have hampered its ability to effectively manage its medical product programs;

• supporting health care reform efforts and control of health care costs through analysis of expenditures and payment structures in Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and other health programs;

• reviewing initiatives to enhance protection of cyber assets;

• conducting oversight of Department of Energy programs and activities as the agency’s focus shifts to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil, and developing greater use of renewable energy sources;

• reviewing unemployment insurance solvency issues in light of the recession, assessing efforts to help dislocated workers, and determining to what extent employment and training programs meet the needs of workers and employers;

• monitoring the impact of the current economic crisis on the long-term financial health of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and private pension plans and assessing options to foster and protect individual retirement savings; and

• providing balanced and objective assessments of technologies in the context of federal programs and public policy issues, such as green energy, energy efficiency, health information technology, homeland security technologies, science and math education programs, as well as the technical challenges of developing sophisticated space and defense systems.

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 13, 2009; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Oversight  
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Comments

The GAO is seriously in trouble if they're trying to staff up for their upcoming project - I applied for a position in early December, heard that I was passed onto the next round in February then...nothing. I've received a total of three emails during this entire period providing any sort of status information.

As a graduate student, I've already had other offers in front of me while I've been deep into the interviewing process with other public and private sector firms. How is GAO supposed to find the talent they say they need from colleges and universities if they can barely keep up with normal recruiting?

Gary Shu
MIT '09

Posted by: garyshu | April 13, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Garyshu: This is Ed, the Federal Eye. Please e-mail me at federaleye (at) washingtonpost.com (dot) com ... I'd love to discuss your situation further.

Posted by: Ed O'Keefe | April 13, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

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