The Government Accountability Office will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Wednesday; members of Congress are marking the occasion by boosting the watchdog agency’s budget and leveraging its nonpartisan oversight to deliver new taxpayer savings and improve governance.
The House Appropriations Committee recently included $729 million for GAO in the new legislative branch spending bill, an increase of $68 million. The appropriations also included language in the Committee report requiring the comptroller general to report to Congress how much federal agencies are wasting by not implementing GAO’s open recommendations. Both moves highlight Congress’s interest in using its nonpartisan watchdog to address the nation’s growing fiscal and governance challenges.
One could argue that the Government Accountability Office is more important today than ever before. The nation’s current political partisanship increases the challenge for Congress to pass reforms to address the nation’s growing fiscal and governance challenges. The federal government is currently operating at deficits not seen since World War II. And the Congressional Budget Office projects the annual federal deficit to average $1.2 trillion over the next decade. GAO’s oversight and nonpartisan recommendations are trusted by both parties on Capitol Hill and often provide an opportunity for Congress to enact meaningful cost-saving reforms.
In its next century, the Government Accountability Office will surely provide great value to Congress and the American people. But it’s up to Congress to help its watchdog reach its potential by giving GAO the resource it needs and leveraging its nonpartisan oversight to help address the nation’s clear fiscal and governance challenges.
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