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    Subject Term: Inflation

    5 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop and implement a plan for ongoing monitoring, including testing and evaluation, of the obligation tool using relevant data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to check the reasonableness of rental assistance agreement amounts calculated by the obligation tool. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to ensure that RHS uses the inflation rates from the President's economic assumptions in developing budget estimates. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should provide guidance to Rural Development state offices that specifies that prior to obligating funds, staff are to review information related to a property's mortgage servicing status. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Lawrence Malenich
    Phone: (202) 512-9399

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies' civil monetary penalties are adjusted timely and keep pace with inflation, the Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) should publish the initial catch-up inflation adjustment in the Federal Register.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA agreed with our recommendation and stated that it is developing a comprehensive plan to address the recommendation. GSA also stated that its projected time frame for publishing the catch-up inflation adjustment ruling is the end of October 2017, after completing the review and concurrence process.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies' civil monetary penalties are adjusted timely and keep pace with inflation, the Acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) should publish the initial catch-up inflation adjustment in the Federal Register.

    Agency: National Transportation Safety Board
    Status: Open

    Comments: In an e-mail commenting on our draft report, the Governmental Affairs Liaison at NTSB stated that NTSB plans to publish the initial catch-up inflation adjustment in October 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies' civil monetary penalties are adjusted timely and keep pace with inflation, the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) should publish the initial catch-up inflation adjustment in the Federal Register.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our request for comments on our draft report and recommendation to USDA, the Attorney-Advisor in the Office of General Counsel at USDA stated in an e-mail that USDA did not have any comments.
    Recommendation: To help ensure timely and complete reporting of agencies' civil monetary penalty information in agency financial reports (AFR) and to provide the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other decision makers with the information needed to help ensure the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties in enforcing statutes and preventing violations, the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) should publish civil monetary penalties within its jurisdiction, including any penalty adjustments, in FEC's 2017 AFR.

    Agency: Federal Election Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our request for comments on our draft report and recommendation to FEB, the Director of Congressional, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at FEC stated in an e-mail that FEC had no comments.
    Recommendation: To help ensure timely and complete reporting of agencies' civil monetary penalty information in agency financial reports (AFR) and to provide the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other decision makers with the information needed to help ensure the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties in enforcing statutes and preventing violations, the Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) should publish civil monetary penalties within its jurisdiction, including any penalty adjustments, in FMC's 2017 AFR.

    Agency: Federal Maritime Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to our draft report, FMC stated that it plans to publish updates to its civil monetary penalty information in its 2017 performance and accountability report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure timely and complete reporting of agencies' civil monetary penalty information in agency financial reports (AFR) and to provide the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other decision makers with the information needed to help ensure the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties in enforcing statutes and preventing violations, the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) should publish civil monetary penalties within its jurisdiction, including any penalty adjustments, in the Department of the Interior's 2017 AFR.

    Agency: National Indian Gaming Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our request for comments on our draft report, NIGC stated that it generally agreed with our recommendation. In addition, NIGC stated that as an independent federal regulatory agency within the Department of the Interior (DOI), NIGC and DOI have developed procedures to ensure that the required civil monetary penalty information will be reported to DOI for its annual agency financial report starting with fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure timely and complete reporting of agencies' civil monetary penalty information in agency financial reports (AFR) and to provide the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other decision makers with the information needed to help ensure the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties in enforcing statutes and preventing violations, the Director of OMB should clarify its guidance related to civil monetary penalty inflation adjustment information that agencies are required to report in the AFRs.

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

    Comments: In response to our request for comment, OMB staff stated that they generally agreed with our recommendation.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should assess and improve, as necessary, the quality of data and methods used to forecast borrower incomes, and revise the forecasting method to account for inflation in estimates.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to assess and improve its borrower income forecasts. The agency reported that it is working with Treasury and other federal partners to obtain the best income data while ensuring that taxpayer privacy is protected to the full extent of the law. Education noted it will establish a timeframe for improvements to the IDR model that allows for adequate and thorough analysis and quality control. It will also consider including an adjustment for inflation in our income estimates and will document the results of our analysis for the next version of the IDR model. The agency wants to guarantee that an inflation adjustment is appropriate for this subpopulation of IDR borrowers, therefore they will conduct further analysis to ensure that any inflation adjustment is appropriately incorporated into the model. The agency anticipates completing these efforts by September 29, 2017. When these efforts are complete, GAO will await documentation that Education has assessed and improved the quality of data quality and methods it uses to forecast borrower incomes, and that it has revised its forecasting methods to account for inflation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should obtain data needed to assess the impact of income recertification lapses on borrower payment amounts, and adjust estimated borrower repayment patterns as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to attempt to obtain data to assess the impact of income recertification lapses on borrower payment amounts. The agency reported that it started to collect more detailed information on borrowers who fail to recertify their income. It will analyze these data to see if they can be used to adjust borrower repayment patterns in the model. The agency will also consider whether to include behavioral effects to account for targeted borrower outreach to recertify their income. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts. Education expects to complete these efforts by September 29, 2017. At that time, GAO will await documentation that Education has obtained the necessary data to assess the impact of recertification lapses on borrower repayment patterns and adjusted estimated borrower repayments in its model, as necessary.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should complete efforts to incorporate repayment plan switching into the agency's redesigned student loan model, and conduct testing to help ensure that the model produces estimates that reasonably reflect trends in Income-Driven Repayment plan participation.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to incorporate repayment plan switching into its redesigned student loan model, and reiterated that efforts to incorporate this capability had begun despite challenges inherent in predicting borrower behavior. GAO will monitor the progress of these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should, as a part of the agency's ongoing student loan model redesign efforts, add the capability to produce separate cost estimates for each Income-Driven Repayment plan and more accurately reflect likely repayment patterns for each type of loan eligible for these plans.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education asserted that as they redesign its current cost estimation model, it will consider adding the capability to produce separate cost estimates for each IDR plan and allow for separate, more accurate estimates by loan type.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should more thoroughly test the agency's approach to estimating Income-Driven Repayment plan costs, including by conducting more comprehensive sensitivity analysis on key assumptions and adjusting those assumptions (such as the agency's Public Service Loan Forgiveness participation assumption) to ensure reasonableness.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to test its approach to estimating IDR plan costs more thoroughly, including through more comprehensive sensitivity analysis. The agency included in its FY16 Annual Financial Report, sensitivity analyses for Public Service Loan Forgiveness participation and borrower incomes. In the future, the agency will consider conducting additional sensitivity to analyses as well as other kind of analysis to ensure reasonableness. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should publish more detailed Income Driven Repayment plan cost information-- beyond what is regularly provided through the President's budget--including items such as total estimated costs, sensitivity analysis results, key limitations, and expected forgiveness amounts.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to publish more detailed IDR plan cost information and stated that it plans to present sensitivity analysis results and key limitations in upcoming financial reports. GAO will consider closing this requirement when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: Lorelei St. James
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve information needed for USPS and congressional decision making as well as transparency for all stakeholders, USPS's executive leaders should collect and analyze updated data on delivery mode costs and the potential savings from converting delivery points to less costly modes of delivery and establish a time frame for publicly reporting the results.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: USPS plans to implement this recommendation by May 2018. According to USPS, this will require additional data collection and analysis. For example, USPS plans to assess its delivery network to understand the potential for converting delivery points, but has not yet collected data on the potential savings of large-scale conversions from door delivery to other modes of delivery. USPS stated that for each delivery point, USPS will need to analyze the location, property rights, zoning laws, and logistical and other legal issues. In addition, USPS said it planned future research to understand the impact of delivery mode conversion on mail volume and revenue.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve communication between the Corps and nonfederal sponsors of flood control projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take steps to ensure that flood control project delivery teams comply with agency guidance to develop communications plans for flood control projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.