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    Topic: "Business Regulation and Consumer Protection"

    59 publications with a total of 162 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    20 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(7), (k)(11), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Defense Logistics Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Agriculture should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(15), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of the Army should comply with section 15(k)(8) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Commerce should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(8), (k)(11), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Defense should comply with sections 15(k)(5) and (k)(8) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Education should comply with sections 15(k)(3) and (k)(11) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Energy should comply with sections 15(k)(3), (k)(8), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should comply with sections 15(k) and (k)(11) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of the Interior should comply with sections 15(k)(11) and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Labor should comply with sections 15(k)(2) and (k)(15) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of the Navy should comply with section 15(k)(8) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of State should comply with sections 15(k)(8) and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of the Treasury should comply with sections 15(k)(8) and (k)(11) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should comply with sections 15(k)(3), (k)(8), and (k)(11) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency should comply with section 15(k)(15) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should comply with section 15(k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(8), and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should comply with sections 15(k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(6), (k)(8), (k)(11), and (k)(15) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address demonstrated noncompliance with section 15(k) of the Small Business Act, as amended, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development should comply with sections 15(k)(15) and (k)(17) or report to Congress on why the agency has not complied, including seeking any statutory flexibilities or exceptions believed appropriate.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As SBA continues to enhance the SBPAC peer review process, the SBA Administrator in her capacity as head of SBPAC should include more detailed guidelines than those used for the current process to facilitate a more in-depth review of agencies' compliance with section 15(k) requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct NHTSA to define, document, and externally communicate the agency's roles and responsibilities in relation to connected vehicle data privacy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As described in the 60-day letter from October 17, 2017, NHTSA plans to create a vehicle data privacy page to be added to their website that will include information on the types of personal data collected by motor vehicles and provide links to additional resources, including the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) and industry groups. On this web page, NHTSA also plans to outline its roles and responsibilities related to vehicle data privacy. In addition, NHTSA will consult with FTC as it develops the web page content and allow for industry and public comments. We will continue to monitor NHTSA's actions related to these efforts.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense and the EPA Administrator should establish procedures to collect and submit obligations data or--through SBA, independently, or through a working group of agencies participating in the SBIR and STTR programs--propose to Congress an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements for their agencies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report. In its June 2017 response to the final report, DOD stated that its position had not changed, but did not provide information on its plans for implementing the recommendation. We will continue to follow up on the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense and the EPA Administrator should establish procedures to collect and submit obligations data or--through SBA, independently, or through a working group of agencies participating in the SBIR and STTR programs--propose to Congress an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements for their agencies.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, EPA concurred with the recommendation and stated that EPA will work with SBA to develop an alternative methodology for calculating spending requirements. In its August 2017 response to the final report, EPA confirmed its intent to work with SBA to develop an alternative methodology, but did not provide plans to implement the recommendation. We will continue to follow up on the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address control weaknesses and related program-integrity risks we identified in Lifeline, the Chairman of FCC should require Commissioners to review and approve, as appropriate, spending above the budget in a timely manner.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address control weaknesses and related program-integrity risks we identified in Lifeline, the Chairman of FCC should maintain and disseminate an updated list of state eligibility databases available to Lifeline providers that includes the qualifying programs those databases access to confirm eligibility; this step would help ensure Lifeline providers are aware of state eligibility databases and could also help ensure USAC audits of Lifeline providers can verify that available state databases are being utilized to verify subscriber eligibility.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address control weaknesses and related program-integrity risks we identified in Lifeline, the Chairman of FCC should establish time frames to evaluate compliance plans and develop instructions with criteria for FCC reviewers how to evaluate these plans to meet Lifeline's program goals.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address control weaknesses and related program-integrity risks we identified in Lifeline, the Chairman of FCC should develop an enforcement strategy that details what violations lead to penalties and apply this as consistently as possible to all Lifeline providers to ensure consistent enforcement of program violations; the strategy should include a rationale and method for resource prioritization to help maximize the effectiveness of enforcement activities.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address our findings regarding the USF, the Chairman of FCC should take action to ensure that the preliminary plans to transfer the USF funds from the private bank to the U.S. Treasury are finalized and implemented as expeditiously as possible.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address our findings regarding the USF, the Chairman of FCC should take action to require a review of customer bills as part of the contribution audit to include an assessment of whether the charges, including USF fees, meet FCC Truth-in-Billing rules with regard to labeling, so customer bills are transparent, and appropriately labeled and described, to help consumers detect and prevent unauthorized charges.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To address our findings regarding the USF, the Chairman of FCC should take action to respond to USAC requests for guidance and address pending requests concerning USF contribution requirements to ensure the contribution factor is based on complete information and that USF pass-through charges are equitable.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Federal Trade Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should confirm that each SBIR and STTR agency is implementing the minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, by, for example, requesting documentation from agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will request that each participating agency confirm their implementation of its minimum fraud, waste, and Abuse prevention requirements by forwarding an email to each agency requesting confirmation of their compliance. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should request input from the participating agencies regarding the clarity of the requirements; review all of the SBIR and STTR minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, including the agency requirement to post information about successful SBIR or STTR fraud prosecutions; determine whether any additional guidance is needed; and revise the policy directives accordingly.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it plans to discuss the issue with program managers at an upcoming meeting and will also contact all agencies in writing to inquire if additional clarity is needed regarding any of the FWA requirements. SBA said that additional guidance will be provided, if necessary. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should revise the fraud, waste, and abuse provisions in the policy directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work used elsewhere in the policy directives and require participating agencies to check for essentially equivalent work that they fund as well as such work funded by other agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will revise the SBIR and STTR Policy Directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work as noted in section 3 of the policy directives. SBA also stated that it will work with all parties to determine how to best address the issue of duplication, noting that this is an important issue and a high priority for all parties involved. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should evaluate SBIR and STTR agencies' fraud, waste, and abuse outcomes to ensure the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements are appropriate and meet their intended purpose for the SBIR and STTR programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will survey the participating agencies regarding whether the requirements are necessary and meeting their intended purposes, are placing undue burdens on the agencies, or need to be revised, updated, or eliminated. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should direct the HHS SBIR and STTR program offices to collect copies of the self-certification forms from its SBIR and STTR awardees.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of the report, HHS did not concur with our recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, HHS stated that the National Institutes of Health will collect life cycle certifications from SBIR and STTR program recipients through its electronic reporting system, which will allow other HHS components that use that system to also collect the forms. The National Institutes of Health plans to begin collecting the life cycle certification forms in fiscal year 2018. We will review the actions to address this recommendation once they are complete.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Naval Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should conduct periodic reviews of the processes DOD components follow to approve agreements and take oversight actions, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should complete actions to develop performance goals and related measures that are consistent with the program's stated purpose.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lawrance Evans
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In the event that Congress again requires an agency to provide affected individuals with identity theft insurance in response to a breach of sensitive personal data, Congress should consider permitting the agency to determine the appropriate level of that insurance.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should, to the extent feasible, conduct an analysis of the effectiveness of the various identity theft services relative to alternatives, and revise OMB's guidance to federal agencies in light of this analysis.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should explore options to address the risk of duplication in federal agencies' provision of identity theft services in response to data breaches, and take action if viable options are identified.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management should incorporate criteria and procedures for determining whether to offer identity theft services into the agency's data-breach-response policy.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management should implement procedures that provide reasonable assurance that significant decisions on the use of identity theft services are appropriately documented.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to clarify whether drive-through windows require disclosures.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to describe what constitutes clear and conspicuous disclosure, including minimum signage dimensions and font size for disclosures.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help state credit union supervisors and privately insured credit unions better interpret Regulation I and inform consumers when an institution is not federally insured, CFPB should issue guidance to explain and provide examples of which communications are advertising.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency and accountability over the compensation paid to WYO companies and set appropriate compensation rates, the FEMA administrator should take into account WYO company characteristics that may impact companies' expenses and profits when developing the new compensation methodology and rates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to FEMA officials, FEMA is responding to this recommendation as part of its development of a final rule on WYO compensation practices, required by the Biggert-Waters Act.
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help business disaster victims and resource partners better access information about the disaster loan process, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should integrate information resources such as the fact sheet, reference guide, and three-step process flier into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal in a way that is more accessible to users.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the disaster loan assistance portal includes links to various loan-related resources and a link to SBA.gov, where users can access the SBA Disaster Loan Program Reference Guide and online learning center. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to centrally integrate the links to loan-related resources into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal, so resources can be more accessible to users.
    Recommendation: To help reduce confusion about the disaster loan process and the time frames applicants may experience, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should ensure the consistency of content across its disaster loan process resources by including in these written and online resources, as appropriate, the following: (1) the three-step process; (2) the types of documentation SBA may request and the general reasons why such information may be requested; and (3) estimates of loan processing time frames applicants might experience and external factors, such as the severity of a disaster, that may affect these time frames using, for example, estimates from its forecasting and related planning tools.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency has provided a consistent messaging about the timeframe for making approval decisions on disaster loan applications: SBA's goal is to make a decision on all home and business disaster loan applications within 2-3 weeks, and this loan approval timeframe also is referenced in other loan-related resources and media interviews. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to (a) ensure informational content is consistent across written and online resources, (b) also include in written and online resources the types of documentation SBA may request and general reasons for the information requests, and (c) tailor the general 2-3 week loan decision timeframe to the each disaster, including the severity of the disaster and other factors that may affect the timeframe, by using the agency's forecasting and related planning tools.
    Recommendation: To further assist disaster business loan applicants, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define technical terminology related to financial statements and other finance terminology on the disaster business loan application forms, in both electronic and paper format. For example, in the online application portal, SBA could incorporate a glossary in the "help" feature. Additionally, SBA could include a glossary in the paper application, so that business applicants who apply by mail can access the definitions as well as the general reasons why such information may be requested.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency is developing a glossary of business financial terms to clearly define terminology used in SBA home and business disaster loan applications and required supporting financial documents. Once completed, SBA stated that it will make the glossary available through the agency's disaster loan assistance portal and the SBA.gov website. We will follow up with SBA once the agency completes the glossary of business financial terms.
    Director: A. Nicole Clowers
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen CMS's efforts to improve the usefulness of the Nursing Home Compare website for consumers, the Administrator of CMS should establish a systematic process for reviewing potential website improvements that includes and describes steps on how CMS will prioritize the implementation of potential website improvements.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and reported that CMS is working to develop a method that would track potential changes to Nursing Home Compare. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive further information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the Five-Star System's ability to enable consumers to understand nursing home quality and make distinctions between high- and low- performing homes, the Administrator of CMS should add information to the Five-Star System that allows consumers to compare nursing homes nationally.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS did not concur with this recommendation. However, we maintain that adding national comparison information is important.
    Recommendation: To help improve the Five-Star System's ability to enable consumers to understand nursing home quality and make distinctions between high- and low- performing homes, the Administrator of CMS should evaluate the feasibility of adding consumer satisfaction information to the Five-Star System.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and reported that CMS is evaluating the feasibility of adding consumer satisfaction to Nursing Home Compare. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive further information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the Five-Star System's ability to enable consumers to understand nursing home quality and make distinctions between high- and low- performing homes, the Administrator of CMS should develop and test with consumers introductory explanatory information on the Five-Star System to be prominently displayed on the home page. Such information should explain, for example, how the overall rating is calculated, the importance of the component ratings, where to find information on the timeliness of the data, and whether the ratings can be used to compare nursing homes nationally.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and reported that CMS is in the process of revising the explanatory language on Nursing Home Compare and plans to implement those changes on the website in late 2017. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive further information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address a potential challenge for consumers who wish to opt for private flood insurance and who must have insurance under the mandatory purchase requirement, the FEMA Administrator should consider reinstating the cancellation reason code allowing policyholders to cancel their NFIP policy and be eligible for premium refunds, on a prorated basis, if they obtain a non-NFIP policy after their NFIP policy became effective. If changes are needed to NFIP's standard flood insurance policy to allow such refunds, FEMA should take the necessary steps to amend its standard flood insurance policy.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA agreed with our recommendation and stated it would reinstate the cancellation code allowing policyholders to cancel their NFIP policy and be eligible for premium refunds in an April 2017 bulletin, effective October 1, 2017, followed up by a subsequent rulemaking. However, as of November 2017, the bulletin had not been issued. In May 2017, FEMA officials noted that the reinstatement of the cancellation code would be part of a proposed regulation package to be completed over the next several years.
    Director: Malenich, J Lawrence
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the property, equipment, and software transactions are properly tracked and capitalized or expensed as appropriate, the Director of CFPB should direct the program offices to require vendors to provide detailed invoices with costs broken out by project.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2016 audit, we continued to find control deficiencies over CFPB's accounting for its property, equipment, and software. CFPB was still in the process of working with its Office of Procurement and program offices to require more detailed invoices with costs broken out by project. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that the property, equipment, and software transactions are properly tracked and capitalized or expensed as appropriate, the Director of CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to update OCFO's financial records to include costs by project.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although CFPB took actions to attempt to address this recommendation, as of September 30, 2016, there were still some unidentified costs in the OCFO's financial records. In addition, our fiscal year 2016 audit continued to identify deficiencies over the recording of property, equipment, and software costs. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: The Director of CFPB should direct the Office of Technology and Innovation's Chief Information Officer to develop and document training materials that are consistent with CFPB's policies and procedures and provide training to employees, on a recurring basis, on how to conduct inventory of electronic equipment and how to update and maintain accurate inventory records.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2016 audit, we continued to find incomplete and inaccurate information in CFPB's inventory records. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: The Director of CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer to develop and implement procedures that require coordination between the OCFO and the Office of Technology and Innovation to provide reasonable assurance that the records maintained by both divisions are accurate, consistent, complete, and comparable for inventory and accounting purposes.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2016 audit, we continued to find incomplete and inaccurate information in CFPB's inventory records. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: The Director of CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to design and implement effective procedures over the preparation of CFPB financial statements and note disclosures, including procedures such as completing the FAM 2010 and 2020 checklists at fiscal year-end, to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements as of fiscal year-end are prepared in accordance with GAAP and note disclosures are adequate.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal year 2016 audit, we continued to find errors and inconsistent disclosures in CFPB's financial statements, some of which resulted in post-closing adjusting entries. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements and improve participation in the administrative pilot program, the SBA Administrator should review SBA guidance regarding when an agency is required to start up an SBIR or STTR program, and if necessary, update the guidance to provide greater clarity to agencies with research or research and development (R&D) obligations greater than the thresholds for participating.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA is working to develop language to update its policy directives to provide guidance on when an agency must start an SBIR or STTR program.
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements and improve participation in the administrative pilot program, the SBA Administrator should complete the required reporting on the administrative pilot program for fiscal year 2014, which could include an evaluation of the potential constraints that may hinder agencies' participation and any steps to address these constraints.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, SBA officials said that SBA is in the process of completing its follow-up with agencies to document agencies' utilization of the administrative pilot program. Specifically, officials said they requested that agencies that planned to participate in the pilot program complete and return a template with information on the pilot program. Once SBA receives that information, officials said they will draft a report. As of April 2017, a formal date for completing and submitting the report has not been established.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop and document measurable goals, such as targets and time frames, for its regulatory science efforts so it can consistently assess and report on the agency's progress in regulatory science efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it plans to identify opportunities for setting measurable goals related to regulatory science. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to systematically track funding of regulatory science projects across each of its priority areas.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it is identifying mechanisms to improve its tracking of funding across the priority areas. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to document its planned method for tracking revenue generated under subsidiaries' primary and secondary lines of business, with milestones and timelines for when and how the method will be implemented.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to provide the appropriate level of access to and sharing of relevant subsidiary data across district offices, including primary and secondary North American Industry Classification System codes and revenue data, once SBA develops a database with the capabilities of collecting and tracking this revenue data as we recommended in 2012.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Director: Lawrance L. Evans Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that FHFA has adequate authority to ensure the safety and soundness of the enterprises and to clarify its supervisory role, Congress should consider granting FHFA explicit authority to examine third parties that do business with and play a critical role in the operations of the enterprises.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Congress has not taken any action on this matter.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of FCC should review joint sales agreements (JSA) filed in stations' public inspection files to identify stations involved in those JSAs and take action to ensure that each station involved has filed its JSA as required.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, FCC officials stated that the agency has not taken any action related to this recommendation.
    Director: Lawrance Evans, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider whether additional changes to the financial regulatory structure are needed to reduce or better manage fragmentation and overlap in the oversight of financial institutions and activities to improve (1) the efficiency and effectiveness of oversight; (2) the consistency of consumer and investor protections; and (3) the consistency of financial oversight for similar institutions, products, risks, and services. For example, Congress could consider consolidating the number of federal agencies involved in overseeing the safety and soundness of depository institutions, combining the entities involved in overseeing the securities and derivatives markets, transferring the remaining prudential regulators' consumer protection authorities over large depository institutions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the optimal role for the federal government in insurance regulation, among other considerations.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: One bill has been introduced in the 115th Congress that would change the financial regulatory structure to address fragmented and overlapping regulatory authorities among agencies, as GAO suggested in February 2016. H.R. 594 was introduced on January 20, 2017, and calls for the functions of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to be combined in a single independent regulatory commission. Such an action could help to address fragmentation and overlap between the two agencies, and reduce opportunities for inefficiencies in the regulatory process and inconsistencies in how regulators conduct oversight activities over similar types of institutions, products, and risks.
    Recommendation: Congress should consider whether legislative changes are necessary to align FSOC's authorities with its mission to respond to systemic risks. Congress could do so by making changes to FSOC's mission, its authorities, or both, or to the missions and authorities of one or more of the FSOC member agencies to support a stronger link between the responsibility and capacity to respond to systemic risks. In doing so, Congress could solicit information from FSOC on the effective scope of its collective designation authorities, including any gaps.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No legislative action identified. As of March 1, 2017, no legislation had been introduced that would align FSOC's authorities with its mission to respond to systemic risks, as GAO suggested in February 2016. Without such legislative changes, FSOC may lack the tools it needs to comprehensively address systemic risks that may emerge, and a gap will continue to exist in the post Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act mechanisms for the mitigation of systemic risks.
    Recommendation: To help regulators address regulatory fragmentation and improve FSOC's ability to identify emerging systemic risks, as OFR develops and refines its financial stability monitoring tools, it should work with FSOC to determine ways in which to fully and regularly incorporate current and future monitors and assessments into Systemic Risk Committee deliberations, including, where relevant, those that present disaggregated or otherwise confidential supervisory information.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council: Office of Financial Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: At the FSOC Systemic Risk Committee meeting held in December 2016, Treasury indicated that Office of Financial Research staff presented on the agency's Financial Stability Report. Officials indicated that they provided an assessment on potential financial stability risks, including macroeconomic, market, credit, funding and liquidity, and contagion risks. Systemic Risk Committee meeting attendees were able to compare and contrast these with the results from the Federal Reserve's systemic risk monitoring activities, which were also presented at the meeting. Office of Financial Research officials stated that there was general consensus at the meeting that these discussions were useful and that they should continue. GAO does not believe that this action is consistent with the intent of if February 2016 recommendation to fully and regularly incorporate current and future monitors and assessments into FSOC's Systemic Risk Committee deliberations. While GAO encourages sharing this type of information, the Office of Financial Research's Financial Stability Report is a publicly-available report. The intent of GAO's recommendation was to encourage the agency to fully incorporate all of its monitors into Systemic Risk Committee discussions, including its Financial Stability Monitor--its benchmark tool for assessing risks across the financial system. In addition, in its February 2016 report, GAO encouraged the agency to seek ways in which monitors that present disaggregated or otherwise confidential supervisory information can be incorporated in committee discussions. Without sharing such monitors and information, the Systemic Risk Committee may identify and advance the analysis of only a subset of systemic risks in a timely manner and may identify others too late or miss others altogether. The Financial CHOICE Act of 2016 was introduced in the 114th Congress. The act called for the Office of Financial Research to be eliminated. It was not passed before the end of the 114th Congress.
    Recommendation: To help regulators address regulatory fragmentation and improve FSOC's ability to identify emerging systemic risks, the Federal Reserve should work with FSOC to regularly incorporate the comprehensive results of its systemic risk monitoring activities into Systemic Risk Committee deliberations.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, Federal Reserve officials indicated that they provided a presentation to FSOC's Systemic Risk Committee in December 2016, which included comprehensive results from its systemic risk monitoring activities. This action appears to be consistent with GAO's February 2016 recommendation, but the documentation provided by the Federal Reserve did not provide sufficient evidence that the agency has regularly incorporated these results into Systemic Risk Committee meetings. GAO will continue to monitor the Federal Reserve's participation in Systemic Risk Committee meetings to ensure that the agency continues to provide both regular and comprehensive results to the committee. Without better access to systemic risk monitoring tools and other outputs, the Systemic Risk Committee may identify and advance the analysis of only a subset of systemic risks in a timely manner and may identify others too late or miss others altogether.
    Recommendation: To more efficiently and effectively monitor the financial system for systemic risks and reduce the risk of unnecessary duplication, OFR and the Federal Reserve should jointly articulate individual and common goals for their systemic risk monitoring activities, including a plan to monitor progress toward articulated goals, and formalize regular strategic and technical discussions around their activities and outputs to support those goals.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council: Office of Financial Research
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Financial Research had coordinated to organize semi-annual meetings to jointly discuss views from their respective monitoring of the financial system for risks; but these meetings had not yet taken place. The first of these meetings is to be held in May 2017 following the agencies' respective systemic risk exercises. Initiating these discussions addresses part of GAO's February 2016 recommendation. GAO plans to review documentation from these meetings in 2017 to further assess if the agencies will use these meetings to jointly articulate individual and common goals, including developing a plan to monitor progress toward the goals. Fully addressing GAO's recommendation could help to ensure comprehensiveness in systemic risk surveillance and reduced risk of duplication. On September 9, 2016, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016 was introduced. It called for the Office of Financial Research to be eliminated. The legislation did not pass before the 114th Congress ended.
    Recommendation: To more efficiently and effectively monitor the financial system for systemic risks and reduce the risk of unnecessary duplication, OFR and the Federal Reserve should jointly articulate individual and common goals for their systemic risk monitoring activities, including a plan to monitor progress toward articulated goals, and formalize regular strategic and technical discussions around their activities and outputs to support those goals.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Financial Research had coordinated to organize semi-annual meetings to jointly discuss views from their respective monitoring of the financial system for risks; but these meetings had not yet taken place. The first of these meetings is to be held in May 2017 following the agencies' respective systemic risk exercises. Initiating these discussions addresses part of GAO's February 2016 recommendation. GAO plans to review documentation from these meetings in 2017 to further assess if the agencies will use these meetings to jointly articulate individual and common goals, including developing a plan to monitor progress toward the goals. Fully addressing GAO's recommendation could help to ensure comprehensiveness in systemic risk surveillance and reduced risk of duplication. On September 9, 2016, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016 was introduced. It called for the Office of Financial Research to be eliminated. The legislation did not pass before the 114th Congress ended.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FCC's data collection efforts, the Chairman of FCC should develop a strategy to gather additional information on the IP transition to assess the transition's potential effects on public safety and consumers.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC stated it will continue to use its existing strategy to obtain data necessary to ensure that core values remain intact through the tech transitions with present resource commitment levels. FCC plans to dedicate resources toward upgrading FCC systems and software to better use "big-data" capabilities.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA fully meets GPRAMA requirements, the SBA Administrator should use the results of additional evaluations it conducts in its strategic planning process and ensure the agency's next strategic plan includes required information on program evaluations, including a schedule of future evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA officials stated that, as of October 2016, the agency had taken several steps to prioritize resources and establish an implementation plan for future evaluations, including hiring its first lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and initiating four program evaluations. They stated that once completed, the evaluations would be incorporated into the agency's fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan. As of May 2017, SBA had started reviewing guidance on drafting this plan, which is due in February 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to develop and implement more robust policies and procedures for the collection of annual data from LPI insurers to ensure they are complete and reliable.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to complete efforts to obtain more detailed national data from LPI insurers.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chairman of FCC should evaluate the effectiveness of FCC's accessibility-related public outreach efforts and ensure those efforts incorporate key practices identified in this report, such as defining objectives and establishing process and outcome metrics.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mathew J. Scirè
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of its preparations for conducting a retrospective review of its QM regulations, HUD should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate the limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, HUD should include in its plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD noted that it does not currently collect data on the annual percentage rate (APR) for each loan that would allow for a perfect comparison to the average prime offer rate. According to HUD, its Office of Housing has on its long-term list of systems priorities to collect specific information from the Uniform Closing Data that could be used to conduct such a comparison. However, HUD stated that it has not received adequate funding to meet these systems enhancements. According to HUD, it is considering the feasibility and potential utility of alternative data sources or the use of a proxy in an appropriate methodology. For instance, whether it may be possible to approximate the APR based upon the note rate and information on closing costs that is collected in the current data system, or alternatively, whether the APR could be obtained or approximated through matching Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for FHA loans.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Federal Housing Finance Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, FHFA informed GAO that SEC had shared its draft plan with the other participating agencies and there was an interagency call to discuss the plan on December 20, 2016. FHFA confirmed that there was an interagency call on that date to discuss the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) review. FHFA noted that it was developing its own plan, and anticipated that the plan would be completed by June 30, 2017. Depending on changes in the structure of the mortgage market, FHFA stated that it will further update the plan as the agency approaches the start of the official QRM definition review in 2019. As with the 2014 final rule, FHFA staff expected that FHFA's participation will focus on the analysis of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac residential mortgage data.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD stated that it has engaged in preliminary discussions both internally and with the other five partner agencies to the 2014 QRM Joint Regulation: OCC, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, FHFA and SEC. Based on GAO's recommendations, HUD stated that it has also conducted initial reviews of existing and potential methodologies and data sources that may inform the review. HUD also noted that as a fundamental matter, FHA insured mortgages are only securitized through the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA). Both FHA and GNMA have extensive underlying requirements regarding both mortgage terms and conditions as well as requirements related to the securitization of those mortgages. According to HUD, its retrospective review of the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule, in terms of any impact on FHA single family insurance programs, will take into account the existing underlying FHA and GNMA statutes and regulations that already govern those programs.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comment letter on the draft report, OCC indicated that it planned to take GAO's recommendation into account as it monitored mortgage market conditions and prepared for upcoming qualified residential mortgage (QRM) reviews. OCC stated that it planned to periodically meet with the other agencies to discuss the implications of any trends it observes and coordinate on studies to better focus and support its evaluation of the review factors.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, FDIC indicated that it developed a plan that outlines the baseline, data, metrics, and analytical methods that it plans to utilize in the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) definition review. According to FDIC, the plan also outlines FDIC's commitment to working collaboratively with the other agencies. As a baseline, FDIC plans to use the data, metrics, and analytical methods used in the final rulemaking process as outlined in the Supplementary Information to the credit risk retention (CRR) regulation as well as data and analytical methods that the FDIC currently uses to monitor the mortgage and securitization markets and economy on an ongoing basis. FDIC stated that it continues to plan to coordinate with the other agencies on the QRM definition review by allocating responsibilities based on expertise, data, and other resources within each agency as the agencies did in the CRR rulemaking process.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the Federal Reserve Board stated that it has an ongoing program to monitor the mortgage and securitization markets as part of its monetary policy, regulatory, and financial stability responsibilities. According to the Federal Reserve, Board staff are continuously researching new data sources, analytical methods, and metrics as part of that program. The Federal Reserve also noted that Board staff with responsibility for implementing this recommendation continue to meet with their counterparts at other agencies.
    Recommendation: To enhance the effectiveness of their preparations for conducting a retrospective review of the QRM regulations, the agencies responsible for the QRM regulations--Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, HUD, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Securities and Exchange Commission--should develop a plan that identifies the metrics, baselines, and analytical methods to be used and specify the roles and responsibilities of each agency in the review process. Furthermore, to account for and help mitigate limitations of existing data and the uncertain availability of enhanced datasets, the six agencies should include in their plan alternate metrics, baselines, and analytical methods that could be used if data were to remain unavailable.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, SEC staff stated that they had developed a preliminary review plan for the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule in December 2016. SEC staff noted that although the review plan describes several proposed analytical approaches, the precise analytical approach to review the mortgage market conditions and the definition of QRM will depend on future data availability, future mortgage market conditions, and the role of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other participants in those markets at that time. To prepare for this review, SEC staff noted that they intend to meet on a periodic basis with the staff of the other agencies to share the results of the analyses discussed above, understand the analyses being performed by the other agencies, and discuss what additional data or analyses may be helpful. As part of these discussions, SEC staff stated that the agencies will likely divide responsibilities for conducting the review according to agency expertise and resources, consistent with each agency's statutory authority and role.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more clearly communicate what NTIA hopes to achieve with its ongoing broadband adoption efforts and to demonstrate the agency's progress, the Secretary of Commerce should include in NTIA's annual performance plan a quantifiable outcome-based performance goal and a related performance indicator for the agency's broadband adoption efforts consistent with the strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to the recommendation in a draft of the report, the Department of Commerce stated that it agrees that outcome-based performance tools are important in evaluating the success of an agency program. However, it also stated that an outcome-based measure would not be an accurate measure of NTIA's performance because the agency's ongoing efforts to provide technical assistance to communities to support broadband adoption efforts are advisory and do not provide funding to communities. In August 2016, an NTIA official reiterated this position. We will continue to monitor NTIA's activities in this area, in case its broadband adoption efforts change.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FCC determine whether its efforts to provide consumers with broadband performance information are effective and meeting consumers' needs, and whether additional efforts--such as a standardized label suggested by FCC's transparency working group--could benefit consumers, FCC should conduct or commission research on the effectiveness of FCC's efforts to provide consumers with broadband performance information and make the results of this research publicly available.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments provided on the draft report, FCC indicated that it concurred with this recommendation. However, as of August 2017, FCC has not taken steps to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help FCC determine whether its efforts to provide consumers with broadband performance information are effective and meeting consumers' needs, and whether additional efforts--such as a standardized label suggested by FCC's transparency working group--could benefit consumers, FCC should establish performance goals and measures under the agency's relevant strategic objectives that allow it to monitor and report on the impact and effectiveness of its efforts.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC noted that its fiscal year 2015-2018 strategic plan has strategic objectives related to providing consumers with broadband performance information; however, these objectives lack performance goals that define desired outcomes for FCC's efforts to provide consumers with broadband performance information as well as performance measures to monitor the effectiveness of FCC's efforts.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure full compliance with SBIR and STTR spending and reporting requirements, the SBA Administrator should assess the methodology reporting requirement to determine whether it generates adequate information for SBA to analyze the accuracy of agencies' calculations of their extramural R&D. If SBA finds that the information is inadequate, SBA should update its guidance to require adequate information.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed expanded guidance to agencies regarding their annual methodology reports in its update to the program policy directives. The proposed guidance required agencies to include an explanation of the calculation of the total extramural research or research and development, an itemization of excluded programs, and an explanation of why the program was excluded, as well as a review of the agency's compliance with the funding requirement for the prior fiscal year and a funding plan for the current fiscal year for how the agency plans to meet or exceed the year's expected minimum obligations requirement. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: William B.Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should establish a mechanism to better ensure that firms are notified of changes to HUBZone designations that may affect their participation in the program, such as ensuring that all certified firms and newly certified firms are signed up for the broadcast e-mail system or including more specific information in certification letters about how location in a redesignated area can affect their participation in the program

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA improved its notifications to newly certified firms but not to other certified firms. For example, SBA's certification letter to firms with principal offices in a redesignated area specifically states that the firm is in a redesignated area, explains the implications of the designation, and notes when the redesignated status will expire. However, we found in March 2016 that SBA had not yet implemented changes to better ensure that all currently certified firms would be notified of changes that could affect their program eligibility. It is important that all certified firms potentially affected by such changes receive information about the changes or are made aware in a timely fashion of any effects on their program eligibility. As of February 2017, SBA had begun to improve its notifications to all firms. According to SBA officials, the agency has started sending program notices to all the firms in its portfolio. They told us that for its most recent notice in February 2017, the agency copied all the e-mail addresses in its HUBZone database and placed them in the e-mail distribution system. According to SBA officials, SBA intends to repeat this effort with subsequent notices. We will continue to monitor SBA's implementation of this activity.
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should conduct an assessment of the recertification process and implement additional controls, such as developing criteria and guidance on using a risk-based approach to requesting and verifying firm information, allowing firms to initiate the recertification process, and ensuring that sufficient staff will be dedicated to the effort so that a significant backlog in recertifications does not recur.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA officials told us that they began automating the process to notify firms that were due for recertification. According to the officials, since September 2015, notification e-mails have been sent daily (compared with the former cycle of two times a year). Each firm due for recertification within the next 30 days would receive the notice. SBA sends a second e-mail to firms that have not responded within 45 days of the first notification. According to SBA officials, as of February 2017, this change has not yet eliminated the backlog. SBA officials informed GAO in May 2017 that they have developed risk-based guidance for conducting recertification reviews and requesting supporting documentation. According to SBA, any certified HUBZone small business concern that has received $1 million or more in HUBZone contract dollars since its initial certification (or its most recent recertification) must submit the following: (a) a list of all current employees, identifying the name of the employee, the employee's address, the number of hours worked per month, and the location where the employee performs his/her work; and (b) payroll documentation. SBA intends to complete the implementation of this policy by the third quarter of 2017.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, Congress should consider transferring the oversight of the markings of toy and imitation firearms in 15 U.S.C. 5001 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (within the Department of Commerce) to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. The Gun Look-Alike Case Act, H.R. 3224, which was introduced on July 27, 2015, in the 114th Congress, would transfer the authority to regulate the markings of toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms in section 5001 of title 15 of the U.S. Code from NIST to CPSC, as GAO suggested in November 2014. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the United States House of Representatives, and did not pass out of committee. As of March 1, 2017, the bill has not been reintroduced in the 115th Congress.
    Recommendation: To improve existing coordination of oversight for consumer product safety, Congress should consider establishing a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism for consumer product safety agencies to address crosscutting issues as well as inefficiencies related to fragmentation and overlap such as communication and coordination challenges and jurisdictional questions between agencies. Different types of formal mechanisms could include, for example, creating a memorandum of understanding to formalize relationships and agreements or establishing a task force or interagency work group. As a starting point, Congress may wish to obtain agency input on options for establishing more formal coordination.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. No legislation was introduced as of March 1, 2017, that would establish a collaborative mechanism to facilitate communication across the relevant agencies and to help enable them to collectively address crosscutting issues, as GAO suggested in November 2014. Some of the agencies with direct regulatory oversight responsibilities for consumer product safety reported that they continue to collaborate to address specific consumer product safety topics. However, without a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism, the agencies risk missing opportunities to better leverage resources and address challenges, including those related to fragmentation and overlap.
    Director: Linda T. Kohn
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve consumers' access to relevant and understandable information on the cost and quality of health care services, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Administrator of CMS to include in the CMS Compare websites, to the extent feasible, estimated out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries for common treatments that can be planned in advance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015 CMS indicated that it is working to implement this recommendation. Specifically, it is actively investigating options for allowing a more targeted and consumer-centric individual user experience on Physician Compare. We will follow up to gather additional information from CMS officials as they continue their work.
    Recommendation: To improve consumers' access to relevant and understandable information on the cost and quality of health care services, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Administrator of CMS to organize cost and quality information in the CMS Compare websites to facilitate consumer identification of the highest-performing providers, such as by listing providers in order based on their performance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, CMS indicated that it is working to implement this recommendation. We will follow up to gather additional information from CMS officials as they continue their work.
    Recommendation: To improve consumers' access to relevant and understandable information on the cost and quality of health care services, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Administrator of CMS to include in the CMS Compare websites the capability for consumers to customize the information presented, to better focus on information relevant to them.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, CMS indicated that it is working to implement this recommendation. Specifically, it is evaluating feasibility of including estimated out-of-pocket costs on physician compare. We will follow up to gather additional information from CMS officials as they continue their work.
    Recommendation: To improve consumers' access to relevant and understandable information on the cost and quality of health care services, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Administrator of CMS to develop specific procedures and performance metrics to ensure that CMS's efforts to promote the development and use of its own and others' transparency tools adequately address the needs of consumers.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2015, CMS indicated that it is working to implement this recommendation. CMS also noted that Physician Compare is in the early stages of public reporting, and is evaluating the feasibility of listing providers based on their performance in the new carefinder.gov project. We will follow up to gather additional information from CMS officials as they continue their work.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to help ensure the effective oversight of third-party certifiers, the Administrator of SBA should establish and implement comprehensive procedures to monitor and assess performance of certifiers in accord with the requirements of the third-party certifier agreement and program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has taken some actions. For example, SBA created a standard operating procedure stating that third-party certifiers are subject to a compliance review by SBA at any time, and SBA has completed a review of the four authorized third-party certifiers. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management and oversight of the WOSB program, and to provide reasonable assurance that only eligible businesses obtain WOSB set-aside contracts, the Administrator of SBA should enhance examination of businesses that register to participate in the WOSB program, including actions such as: (1) promptly completing the development of procedures to conduct annual eligibility examinations and implementing such procedures; (2) analyzing examination results and individual businesses found to be ineligible to better understand the cause of the high rate of ineligibility in annual reviews, and determine what actions are needed to address the causes; and (3) implementing ongoing reviews of a sample of all businesses that have represented their eligibility to participate in the program.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA has created a standard operating procedure that includes some procedures for annual eligibility examinations. We continue to monitor SBA actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: at the time of the contract award, contracting officers shall conduct and document an assessment of the 8(a) firm's ability to comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: contracting officers shall include monitoring and oversight provisions in all 8(a) contracts to ensure that the contractors comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: prime 8(a) contractors shall periodically report to the contracting officer on the percentage of subcontracted work being performed.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Mathew J.Scirè
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure the viability and safety of manufactured housing produced in accordance with the HUD Code, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development should develop a plan to assess how FHA financing might further promote the affordability of manufactured homes and identify the potential for better securitization of manufactured housing financing.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure the viability and safety of manufactured housing produced in accordance with the HUD Code, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development should strengthen the oversight of inspections and enforcement-related activities by (1) consistently documenting actions taken to resolve recommendations from completed audits and the outcome of such actions, (2) completing a Transition Plan for the monitoring contractor activity, and (3) exploring the feasibility of developing a cost-effective systematic process for collecting and evaluating information on the content of complaints.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that Congress, stakeholders, and agencies have complete information about changing costs and whether a fee needs to be changed, HUD should complete the necessary rulemaking changes to allow the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs to adjust its label fees from the $39 per label toward levels up to the congressionally authorized level that better reflect the current levels of manufactured home production, while considering the impact that such fees may have on the industry; put in place a process for regular fee reviews to determine whether the fees currently being charged will allow the program to respond to spikes and surges in label fee revenue and to identify any factors that may drive label fee revenue instability; and identify any additional sources of funding that may mitigate initial revenue shortfalls and the program's fixed and variable costs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that Congress, stakeholders, and agencies have complete information about changing costs and whether a fee needs to be changed, HUD should assess the feasibility, including an analysis of the benefits and costs, of putting in place user fees for its dispute resolution and installation programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that Congress, stakeholders, and agencies have complete information about changing costs and whether a fee needs to be changed, HUD should establish the goals for use of reserves of the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund, and the minimum and maximum thresholds for the reserves appropriate for meeting these goals.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure the viability and safety of manufactured housing produced in accordance with the HUD Code, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should develop and implement a plan for updating construction and safety standards for manufactured homes on a timely, recurring basis to include: (1) addressing unresolved issues related to defining and developing sufficient economic analyses tied to proposed changes to the construction and safety standards; and (2) ensuring sufficient resources and capacity within HUD and the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee and its administering organization; or if such a plan cannot be devised and implemented, identify and report to Congress on alternative methods of ensuring the quality, durability, safety, and affordability of manufactured homes, including the possibility of relying more extensively on existing industry standards.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: FCC should determine whether it needs to collect additional data to understand the prevalence and context of broadcaster agreements. FCC should also evaluate whether broadcaster agreements affect its media policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC has acknowledged the need for more information to be able to determine the extent to which sharing agreements between television broadcasters may affect diversity, competition, and localism. As a result, FCC required that commercial television stations disclose their sharing agreements in their public inspection files. In May 2017, FCC said that the agency has not done any new analysis since issuing the new disclosure requirement. We will continue to monitor whether FCC conducts any new analysis of whether broadcaster agreements affect the agency's media policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity as called for by our recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with the Small Business Act and enhance SBA's ability to provide oversight of the programs, the SBA Administrator should revise the language in the SBIR and STTR policy directives to accurately summarize the statutory provisions that describe the program spending requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, SBA proposed an update to its SBIR and STTR policy directive to state that each participating agency must spend (obligate) the required amounts on the programs, which is consistent with the statutory provisions for program spending requirements. However, according to SBA officials, in January 2017, the policy directive was withdrawn from the Office of Management and Budget and is under further internal consideration in light of a recent executive order. As of April 2017, SBA has not established a time frame for publication of the final policy directive.
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-9345

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to take steps to identify high risk facilities working with ammonium nitrate and develop options to target them for inspection.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2016, OSHA officials reported that implementation of their planned local emphasis programs focused on safe use and storage of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities was delayed due to litigation regarding process safety management enforcement in the fertilizer industry. As of July 2017, OSHA officials stated that with the recent conclusion of that litigation, OSHA is considering initiation of local emphasis programs focused on the storage and handling of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities. Once initiated, a local emphasis program requires a focused inspection program with facilities chosen at random from the list of facilities in appropriate industry codes. OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. We will close this recommendation when the local emphasis programs are initiated.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and its Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. The Request for Information specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, OSHA reports it has completed a Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Review Act panel to gather feedback from small businesses on updating its Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation. During the panel, the agency discussed the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of chemicals covered by PSM and collected comments. Currently, the PSM rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. According to OSHA officials, the agency will continue to collect comments on the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of highly hazardous chemicals covered by the PSM regulations as dictated by the rulemaking process. We will close this recommendation when OSHA decides what action to take as a result of the requests for information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, EPA issued a final rule to modify its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations. The agency decided not to propose any revisions to the list of regulated substances and therefore, did not address ammonium nitrate in the revised regulations. In a June 2016 update from EPA, EPA stated that OSHA is considering whether ammonium nitrate should be added to the list of chemicals subject to OSHA Process Safety Management regulations. According to the June 2016 update, EPA stated that while the agency is not presently proposing that ammonium nitrate be added to the list of substances subject to the RMP rule, the agency may elect to propose such a listing at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to consider updating regulations for the storage of ammonium nitrate taking into consideration, as appropriate, other related standards and current practices.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. In addition, on December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard, which includes ammonium nitrate storage requirements. The RFI specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, this rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. We will close this recommendation when the agency decides what action to take as a result of the request for information.
    Director: Malenich, J Lawrence
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to design and implement control procedures that require coordination between the Office of Procurement and other program offices at the time of capitalization to ensure that property and equipment costs, including costs associated with internal-use software, are properly capitalized or expensed as appropriate.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although CFPB took actions to attempt to address this recommendation, as of September 30, 2016, it was still in the process of implementing additional corrective actions. In addition, our fiscal year 2016 audit continued to identify deficiencies over the recording of property, equipment, and software costs. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Recommendation: The CFPB should direct the Chief Financial Officer to strengthen the design and implementation of control procedures to require, as part of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer's quarterly review procedures, review of underlying supporting documents, including tracking schedules, invoices, and obligating documents, to ensure that property and equipment transactions are properly identified and capitalized or expensed as appropriate.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 30, 2016, we continued to find that the Office of the Chief Financial Officer's review was not always effective in timely detecting and correcting classification errors between costs that should be capitalized and costs that should be expensed. We will continue to evaluate CFPB's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies are tracking the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, OMB's Administrator for Federal Procurement Policys should monitor agencies' compliance with the requirement to maintain baseline data and performance measures on small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OMB officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior officials have stated that they are in the process of addressing this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Consistent with OMB guidance and to track the effect of strategic sourcing on small businesses, the Secretaries of DOD, DHS, HUD, and the Interior, and the Administrator of NASA should collect baseline data and establish performance measures on the inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing initiatives.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA officials provided an update in March 2017. They stated that they consider the inclusion of small businesses and small disadvantaged businesses throughout the strategic sourcing process and that they track performance on their small business goals at the agency and buying office level. However, they stated they had no plans to track baseline data and performance measures on small business inclusion for individual strategic sourcing efforts or strategic sourcing efforts grouped by categories because they did not see the benefit of doing so. As we stated in our report, OMB memorandums require baseline data and a measure of the change in small business spending for each individual initiative. Therefore, we continue to believe this recommendation has merit and should be fully implemented.
    Director: Sullivan, Michael J
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve tracking and reporting of technology transition outcomes for SBIR projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Small Business Programs to establish a common definition of technology transition for all SBIR projects to support annual reporting requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) officials stated they have come up with a standard definition of technology transition as the production and delivery (whether by the originating party or by others) of products, processes, technologies, or services for sale to or use by the Federal Government or a Contractor in support of a Government requirement. Despite repeated attempted at obtaining documentary evidence of this action, we have not received any response from DOD and until documentation is provided this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Woods, William T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make guidance for contract consolidation consistent with current law, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of General Services should act expeditiously to update or establish agency guidance for consolidated contracts after the Small Business Administration rulemaking is completed.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and said it plans to update its acquisition regulation for consolidated contracts after the Small Business Administration (SBA) rule is finalized and changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are complete. The SBA's final rule was issued in October 2013. This change was incorporated in the FAR in September 2016. As of August 2017, DOD had not provided an update on actions taken to update the defense acquisition regulation.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress should consider strengthening the current consumer privacy framework to reflect the effects of changes in technology and the marketplace--particularly in relation to consumer data used for marketing purposes--while also ensuring that any limitations on data collection and sharing do not unduly inhibit the economic and other benefits to industry and consumers that data sharing can accord. Among the issues that should be considered are: (1) the adequacy of consumers' ability to access, correct, and control their personal information in circumstances beyond those currently accorded under FCRA; (2) whether there should be additional controls on the types of personal or sensitive information that may or may not be collected and shared; (3) changes needed, if any, in the permitted sources and methods for data collection; and (4) privacy controls related to new technologies, such as web tracking and mobile devices.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, Congress has not taken action on this matter.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that participating agencies and SBA comply with spending and reporting requirements for the SBIR and STTR programs, the SBA Administrator should provide Congress with a timely annual report that includes a comprehensive analysis of the methodology each agency used for calculating the SBIR and STTR spending requirements, providing a clear basis for SBA's conclusions about whether these calculations meet program requirements.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to SBA officials, as of April 2017, SBA had completed a draft of its report to Congress for fiscal year 2014 and planned to send it to the participating agencies and Office of Management and Budget for review after SBA completed its internal review. The officials said that the report for fiscal year 2015 is being drafted, and SBA is in the process of reviewing the participating agencies' data for fiscal year 2016, which was due to SBA in March 2017. As of April 2017, SBA did not have an anticipated issuance date for the reports to Congress for fiscal years 2014, 2015, or 2016.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FDA's ability to use AERs and to oversee dietary supplement products, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to incorporate a mechanism to collect information on when AERs are used to support and inform consumer protection actions (i.e., surveillance, advisory, and regulatory actions).

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will update this information.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the awareness, use, and usefulness of SaferProducts.gov, the CPSC should establish and incorporate metrics to assess efforts to increase awareness and use of SaferProducts.gov.

    Agency: Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Commission states that it measures overall awareness of SaferProducts.gov in a manner similar to the manner in which it measures the awareness of CPSC.gov: by the number of visits to the website. The Commission states that website visits is a reasonable proxy measure of overall awareness that is cost-effective to collect. According to the Commission, in fiscal year 2014, SaferProducts.gov had 2.4 million visits and 863,000 visitors, where visits are the number of sessions the site was hit and visitors are the count of unique IP addresses who came to the site. The Commission had previously indicated that it planned to include three questions on SaferProducts.gov in a National Awareness Survey designed to determine overall awareness of CPSC on a national level. While the Commission administered the survey, it did not include questions related to SaferProducts.gov. As of March 2017, the Commission has not taken specific steps to measure the overall awareness of SaferProducts.gov.
    Recommendation: To improve the awareness, use, and usefulness of SaferProducts.gov, the CPSC should implement cost-effective usability improvements to SaferProducts.gov, taking into account the results of any existing usability testing or any new testing CPSC may choose to conduct.

    Agency: Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Commission had begun making usability improvements to SaferProducts.gov by improving the search functionality and improving the user experience of submitting incident reports. The Commission planned to include a tagline to its website to increase users' understanding of the site's purpose--either "Report. Search. Protect." or "Report. Search. Be Empowered." by March 2017. However, as of April 2017, SaferProducts.gov does not include a tagline. The Commission also has not made any other website improvements in this regard, nor have staff undertaken user experience studies to assess users' understanding of the site.
    Director: Yager, Loren
    Phone: (202)512-4347

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To more effectively implement SBA's expansion of OIT field staff as required by the SBJA, the Administrator of the SBA should update SBA's plan for additional OIT staff to include funding sources and time frames, as well as possible efficiencies from clearly defining roles and responsibilities and leveraging other entities' export assistance resources.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: SBA concurred with our recommendations and noted that SBA would work to implement the recommendations. SBA agreed that it intends to respond to staffing requirements of the SBJA while acknowledging resource constraints in its next annual report to Congress. In November 2014, SBA officials said that SBA was in the process of evaluating the impact of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) retirements that took place at the end of September 2014 and was developing a plan for reallocating full-time employees (FTEs). They said that at the end of this process, SBA would have a better understanding of the impact on current and future USEAC staffing levels. In September 2015, SBA stated that it was still in the process of evaluating the impact of the VERA/VSIP retirements that took place at the end of September 2014, and was developing a plan for current and future FTEs. In February 2016, SBA's Office of International Trade (OIT) reported that in the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, it was able to fill the 21st of 30 USEAC-based Export Finance Specialist positions. OIT also reported that it has prepared an updated staffing proposal for the remaining nine positions called for under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. OIT noted that filling the remaining nine positions would depend on their receiving additional agency funding. SBA needs to provide documentation of its plan for complying with staffing requirements in the Small Business Jobs Act, or provide evidence that they have reallocated resources to actually do so. As of March 2017, SBA's new leadership was reviewing agency budget and staffing needs and had not provided us with a proposal for filling the remaining positions.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better enable CPSC to target unsafe consumer products, Congress may wish to amend section 29(f) of CPSA to allow CPSC greater ability to enter into information-sharing agreements with its foreign counterparts that permit reciprocal terms on disclosure of nonpublic information.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 31, 2017, Section 29 of CPSA had not been amended since 2008. In 2013, a bill was introduced (S.1887) but not passed. That bill would have allowed "the Commission, when sharing information under the federal-state cooperation program with a foreign government agency for official law enforcement or consumer protection purposes, to authorize a foreign government agency to make that information available to another agency of the same foreign government (including a political subdivision of that foreign government that is located within the same territory or administrative area as the agency disclosing the information) if an appropriate official of the foreign government agency disclosing the information certifies (by prior agreement, memorandum of understanding with the CPSC, or other written certification) that it will establish and apply specified confidentiality restrictions under the Consumer Product Safety Act."
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-4309

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether an 8(a) justification is required for 8(a) contracts that are subject to a pre-existing Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) class justification.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to provide additional information on actions contracting officers should take to comply with the justification requirement when the contract value rises above or falls below $20 million between SBA's acceptance of the contract for negotiation under the 8(a) program and the contract award.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether and under what circumstances a separate sole-source justification is necessary for out-of-scope modifications to 8(a) sole-source contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As SEC works to enhance its oversight of FINRA, the SEC Chairman should encourage FINRA to conduct retrospective reviews of its rules and establish a process for examining FINRA's reviews.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As SEC works to enhance its oversight of FINRA, the SEC Chairman should direct Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) to follow all elements of a risk-management framework as it develops plans for an enhanced risk-based approach to FINRA oversight, such as developing plans for how it will prioritize risks related to oversight of FINRA and assessing the effectiveness of its risk-based model.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the limitations on subcontracting clause and to clarify who has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the clause, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the Administrator of SBA, should provide specific guidance (including data collection options) to agency officials, including to contracting officers, about how to monitor the extent of subcontracting under 8(a) contracts, including for orders under indefinite quantity contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) agreed with the recommendation. In summer of 2017 we followed up to see what actions they had taken to implement the recommendation, but we did not receive any updates. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the limitations on subcontracting clause and to clarify who has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the clause, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the Administrator of SBA, should take actions to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to (1) direct contracting officers at agencies that have been delegated responsibility for ensuring compliance with the limitations on subcontracting clause to document in the contract file the steps they have taken to ensure compliance and (2) clarify the percentage of work required by an 8(a) participant under indefinite quantity contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) agreed with the recommendation. In summer of 2017 we followed up to see what actions they had taken to implement the recommendation, but we did not receive any updates. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of tribal firms' participation in the 8(a) program, the Administrator of SBA should, as the new 8(a) tracking database is being developed, take steps toensure that it has the capability to (1) provide visibility to district offices into all tribal 8(a) firms' activity by tribal entity to ensure compliance with new prohibition to award sole-source 8(a) follow-on contracts to sister subsidiaries; (2) track revenue from tribal 8(a) firms' primary and secondary industry codes to ensure that subsidiaries under the same parent company are not generating the majority of their revenue from the same primary industry; and (3) track information on 8(a) contracts and task or delivery orders,including orders awarded under basic ordering agreements, tohelp ensure that district officials have information necessary toenforce the 8(a) program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In June 2015, SBA officials told GAO that they will use a high risk model of random surveillance to track revenue in primary and secondary codes for entity-owned firms, such as tribal 8(a) firms. SBA will include this as a part of the continuing eligibility process, and will randomly select entity-owned firms and subsidiaries for the deep dive. As part of this effort, SBA will pull data from the Federal Procurement Data System to determine what industry codes the subsidiaries are earning revenues. SBA will look for firms generating revenue in another industry code that exceeds the revenue in their primary industry code when the revenue also aligns under the primary industry code of another subsidiary firm for two consecutive years. These firms will be notified of SBA's concern in writing during their continuing eligibility review to be vigilant to avoid further action by the SBA. In February 2016, SBA informed us that it had delayed plans for the random surveillance, and had taken steps in the interim to begin monitoring the revenue generated under a subsidiary's primary and secondary NAICS codes by tracking award obligations for all entity-owned firms in a spreadsheet. SBA officials told us that the spreadsheet is a stop gap measure until the database can be developed. We asked for updates to steps taken but as of September 2017, no updates were provided. We will continue to track progress on the development of this randomized analysis and other efforts to provide the necessary visibility to all district offices on tribal 8(a) firms participation in the 8(a) program.
    Director: Cackley, Alicia P
    Phone: (202) 512-7022

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce the varying interpretations of LRRA, which have led to uncertainty and disagreements among RRGs and state insurance regulators, and at the same time continue to facilitate the formation and efficient operation of RRGs, Congress may wish to consider clarifying certain LRRA provisions. For example, clarifying whether (1) RRG registration requirements beyond those currently specified in LRRA are permitted in nondomiciliary states and (2) fees in addition to premium and other taxes could be charged to RRGs by nondomiciliary states in which they operate. Congress may also wish to consider providing a more specific definition of the types of insurance coverage permitted under LRRA.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Congress had not taken actions to clarify the provisions we had noted within the Liability Risk Retention Act as causing some uncertainty among risk retention groups and state insurance regulators.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (214)777-5719

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To know whether its data on committed spending can be relied on to determine state DOTs' progress in meeting goals, to enhance FHWA's ability to know whether state DOTs meet their DBE goals, and to help increase transparency in the reporting of spending on DBEs, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator, in the information it provides to decision makers, including Congress, to include statements about potential limitations of the data it uses to determine state DOTs' progress towards goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: An official from the Department of Transportation said that the agency expects the recommendation to be met with a final rule regarding disadvantaged business enterprises, which will be signed by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation by the end of the calendar year.
    Director: Kohn, Linda T
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As HHS implements its current and forthcoming efforts to make transparent price information available to consumers, HHS should determine the feasibility of making estimates of complete costs of health care services available to consumers through any of these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2013, CMS released average inpatient hospital charge information for more than 3,000 hospitals that receive Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System payments for the 100 most frequently billed discharges using DRGs from FY2011 and corresponding average Medicare payments. Shortly thereafter CMS also released outpatient charges. In April 2014, CMS also released data on payments to physicians under Medicare part B. This represents an effort to provide price transparency, although these are not complete cost estimates according to our definition in this report. As of September 2015, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: As HHS implements its current and forthcoming efforts to make transparent price information available to consumers, HHS should determine, as appropriate, the next steps for making estimates of complete costs of health care services available to consumers.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2015, we are awaiting an update from HHS on the status of this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more fully evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To more fully evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Status: Open

    Comments: Following issuance of the report, EPA established a working group to review mentor-protege policies and procedures and determine the viability and relevance of the program at EPA. The working group recommended that EPA maintain the mentor-protege program and suggested other program improvements. EPA has since suspended implementation of the working group recommendations pending finalization of SBA's revised mentor-protege program guidance. In addition, EPA noted in May 2015 that the agency did not have any mentor-protege agreements in place and thus no need to develop and implement a systemic methodology for tracking program results. EPA added that it anticipates taking steps necessary to implement program tracking in accordance with SBA's revised mentor-protege guidance once it is finalized.
    Recommendation: To more fully evaluate the effectiveness of their mentor-protege programs, the OSDBU and Mentor-Protege Program Directors of DHS, DOE, DOS, EPA, FAA, GSA, HHS, SBA, Treasury, and VA should consider collecting and maintaining protege postcompletion information.

    Agency: Department of Energy: Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to encourage vehicle owners to comply with safety recalls, provide vehicle owners with specific information about whether their vehicle is involved in a recall, and identify factors that affect recall completion rates, among other things, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of NHTSA to develop a plan to use the data it collects on recall campaigns to analyze particular patterns or trends that may characterize successful recalls and determine whether these represent best practices that could be used in other recall campaigns.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions NHTSA has taken in response to this recommendation will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-4803

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of information on airline-imposed fees and government-imposed taxes and fees for consumers and improve airlines' reporting of fee revenues to the Department of Transportation, the Secretary of Transportation should improve the disclosure of baggage fees and policies to passengers, in accordance with DOT guidance, by requiring that U.S. airlines and foreign airlines that fly within or to or from the United States disclose baggage fees and policies along with fare information such that this information can be consistently disclosed across all distribution channels used by the airline.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: A DOT rulemaking (RIN-2105-AE56: Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees) is ongoing and could address this recommendation. As of June 2017, the final rule is expected to be published in late 2017/early 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of information on airline-imposed fees and government-imposed taxes and fees for consumers and improve airlines' reporting of fee revenues to the Department of Transportation, the Secretary of Transportation should require U.S. passenger airlines to report to DOT all optional fees paid by passengers related to their trip in a separate account, exclusive of baggage fees and reservation change and cancellation fees.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: A DOT rulemaking (RIN-2105-AE56: Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees) is ongoing and could address this recommendation. As of June 2017, the final rule is expected to be published in late 2017/early 2018.
    Recommendation: If Congress determines that the benefit of added revenue to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund from taxation of optional airline service fees, such as baggage fees, is of importance, then it may wish to consider amending the Internal Revenue Code to make mandatory the taxation of certain or all airline imposed fees and to require that the revenue be deposited in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, Congress has not yet taken action regarding this matter. While amendments have been offered to change the tax treatment of airline fees, none of these amendments have been passed into law. We will continue to monitor this matter and will provide updated information.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure compliance with federal contracting regulations and to more transparently disclose the extent to which subcontracting opportunities are available to small businesses, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense and the Administrator of General Services should consider asking their respective Inspectors General to conduct a review at an appropriate future date to ensure that this guidance and related requirements are being followed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS issued a chapter on its small business subcontracting program in its DHS Acquisition Manual in October 2009 and developed a subcontracting plan checklist that officials are to use when awarding a contract. In May 2010, DHS officials stated that these documents were examples of progress they have made to address the recommendation on ensuring compliance with federal contracting regulations and other related requirements. We disagreed with the agency and do not believe that these documents constitute agency guidance on the contract administration duties to monitor contractor compliance with subcontracting plan reporting requirements. In the fall of 2017, we met with DHS officials to discuss the recommendation. Subsequently, in September 2017, DHS emailed a description of the role of the OSDBU in ensuring that: (a) prime contractors report timely on their small business subcontracting accomplishments, and (b) determinations that call for no subcontracting plans are properly vetted. We requested formal documentation of the roles and responsibilities of the OSDBU, as well as evidence of the work performed, in September 2017. The recommendation remains open until DHS provides documentation to support its written description of the OSDBU's efforts to help ensure guidance and related requirements related to subcontracting opportunities for small businesses are being followed.
    Director: Stephenson, John B
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should take a number of steps to further protect the American public from elevated lead levels in drinking water. Specifically, to improve EPA's ability to oversee implementation of the lead rule and assess compliance and enforcement activities, EPA should ensure that data on water systems' test results, corrective action milestones, and violations are current, accurate, and complete.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, EPA reported to GAO that the agency had been working with states through face-to-face trainings and webinars on the reporting of milestone data. GAO will continue to monitor these efforts and reevaluate whether water systems' test results, corrective action milestones and violations are current, accurate and complete subsequent to the completion of the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal and the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) Prime, described briefly below. However, until these new tools are complete, the status of this recommendation remains open. According to EPA, SDWIS Prime will be available for testing in September 2017 and for state use at the end of March 2018. In an earlier update to GAO in June 2016, EPA highlighted several of its efforts to improve data quality, noting that it had given greater scrutiny to such improvements due to recent concerns about elevated lead in drinking water. For example, its SDWIS regional coordinators review all SDWIS data submissions for accuracy and timeliness before approving submittals to the agency. In addition, EPA provides the Regions and the States with a data quality matrix report that gives metrics on the accuracy and timeliness of the last submission, after each quarterly submission. The agency has also focused on promoting electronic reporting of drinking water data through development of the Compliance Monitoring Data Portal, and is developing SDWIS Prime to improve state program efficiency, automate candidate violation notifications, increase data submission quality, and promote reporting of compliance monitoring data.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should periodically perform a nationwide sample survey of 8(a) firms to obtain measurable program data. At a minimum, the survey should assess whether SBA assistance is meeting the firms' expectations and needs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA drafted a plan for providing individualized business development assistance to 8(a) firms, along with an assessment tool--the 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT). A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of the One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but, no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should provide a method for collecting data on each firm's training needs for tracking the assistance provided.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: With the deployment of the Business Development Management Information System on July 28, 2008, along with an 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT)--which will entail an enhancement of SBA's Business Development Management Information System--SBA stated that it will be able to annually collect data that will be used to assess an 8(a) participant's needs for technical assistance and training. A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.