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    Subject Term: Publishing

    8 publications with a total of 29 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    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: David B. Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, undertake a review of the efforts to date on ensuring data quality

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: State concurred with this recommendation and noted that it will continue to work with USAID in consultation with OMB to assess whether additional existing resources are required to meet the goals of ForeignAssistance.gov. As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of June 2017, GAO was following up with State to obtain additional information on how the established review process would or has helped improve the quality of the data reported on Foreignassistance.gov.
    Recommendation: To improve the quality of the data published on ForeignAssistance.gov and help ensure consistency in published information, the Secretary of State should, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the USAID Administrator, develop additional guidance that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, State has taken some steps to coordinate with OMB and USAID to improve the quality of data reported for ForeignAssistance.gov. For example, in January 2017, State co-hosted an interagency meeting with OMB and USAID to discuss data quality and reporting requirements. As of June 2017, GAO was following up with State to determine if additional guidance has been developed that takes into consideration current challenges to updating ForeignAssistance.gov with verified data
    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: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    8 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to collaborate with each other in defining and identifying programs that contribute to common outcomes.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to provide a time frame for what constitutes "persistent over time" that agencies can use as a decision rule for whether to include short-term efforts as programs.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, define plans for when additional agencies will be required to develop program inventories.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by designating tax expenditure as a program type in relevant guidance.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by developing, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, a tax expenditure inventory that identifies each tax expenditure and provides a description of how the tax expenditure is defined, its purpose, and related performance and budget information.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB?s guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In June 2016, OMB staff said they continue to determine how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act; OMB staff said there was no update as of March 2017. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to consult with relevant congressional committees and stakeholders on their program definition approach and identified programs when developing or updating their inventories.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to identify in their inventories the performance goal(s) to which each program contributes.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, ensure, during OMB reviews of inventories, that agencies consistently identify, as applicable, the strategic goals, strategic objectives, agency priority goals, and cross-agency priority goals each program supports.

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

    Comments: In June 2016, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they have not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continue to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In our July 2015 testimony on DATA Act implementation, we recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory (see GAO-15-752T). However, at the same hearing, the Acting Deputy Director for Management and Controller at OMB stated that, because the staff that would be involved in working on the program inventories were heavily involved in DATA Act implementation, he would not expect an update of the program inventories to happen before May 2017.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement a written policy to ensure all authorized projects are entered into the agency's database and tracked.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Corps has developed a database on authorized construction projects and has used it for deauthorization activities, but the database is not yet on an Automated Information System platform due to contract capacity constraints for the software developers. Once data are included on an Automated Information System platform, guidance will be issued on data entry and updating of the data.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what projects are eligible for deauthorization, transmit the list to Congress, and publish projects that are deauthorized in the Federal Register once the new database includes all authorized projects.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement written policies and procedures documenting the project deauthorization process, from initial compilation of a list of eligible projects to submitting the list to Congress and publishing the projects that are deauthorized in the Federal Register.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement a policy for record-keeping to ensure that documents related to deauthorization are maintained as federal records.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a mechanism for tracking all authorized studies and establish and implement a written policy to ensure all authorized studies are tracked.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will move the inventory to an automated information system platform and issue guidance on data entry and updating the data.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish and implement policies and procedures documenting the deauthorization process for studies, from initial compilation of a list of eligible studies to submitting the list to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will develop policies and procedures for the study deauthorization process.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Corps meets the statutory requirements related to deauthorization of incomplete water resources studies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what studies are eligible for deauthorization and transmit the list to Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, a task order has been awarded for a contractor to prepare a comprehensive inventory of studies authorized by statute. Once the comprehensive inventory of studies is complete, the Corps will develop policies and procedures for the study deauthorization process and those policies and procedures will be used to carry out the process of deauthorizing studies.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help mitigate confusion about the use of reverse auctions in federal acquisitions, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should take steps to amend the FAR to address agencies' use of reverse auctions.

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

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, OMB generally concurred with this recommendation but, as of July 2017, had not yet publicly released a draft of any related proposed FAR rule(s). In July 2017, OMB staff stated that a FAR team had drafted proposed regulatory changes to address the use of reverse auctions in response to GAO's recommendation. OMB staff said that the draft changes were undergoing review and they expected they would be published for public comment before the end of the calendar year.
    Director: Melito, Thomas
    Phone: (202)512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. efforts to promote international religious freedom, the Secretary of State and the Chair of USCIRF should jointly define how State and USCIRF should interact in their efforts to promote international religious freedom, paying particular attention to defining the ex-officio role of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom as a nonvoting USCIRF member.

    Agency: United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2015, officials from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor (DRL) said that the DRL Front Office and senior management have yet to approve a joint letter between State's Office of International Religious Freedom and the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that addresses GAO's recommendation. According to the officials, the DRL front office wanted to revisit the letter given the recent appointment of a new Ambassador-at-Large. According to the Ambassador, he met with USCIRF and wanted to provide input to the joint letter, but as of March 2015, the letter had not been approved by State. We followed up again in both August 2015 and August 2016 and were told that no progress on the letter or a joint understanding had been made. In July 2017, the President announced his nominee to be the new Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. As of August 15, 2017, the nomination is pending. State and USCIRF have not reached agreement on a letter responding to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. efforts to promote international religious freedom, the Secretary of State and the Chair of USCIRF should jointly define how State and USCIRF should interact in their efforts to promote international religious freedom, paying particular attention to defining the ex-officio role of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom as a nonvoting USCIRF member.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: After the report was issued, in a letter dated May 28, 2013, the State Department said it has met with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to discuss a plan for better systematizing the interactions between the entities, including by more clearly defining the ex-officio role of the Ambassador-at-Large. In October 2013 and again in March 2014, State said it continued to discuss this plan with USCIRF. In October 2014, State said it had drafted a joint letter with USCIRF in response to our recommendation, but that it was awaiting a Front Office signature. In March 2015, officials from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor (DRL) said that the DRL Front Office and senior management have yet to approve a joint letter between State's Office of International Religious Freedom and the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that addresses GAO's recommendation. According to the officials, the DRL front office wanted to revisit the letter given the recent appointment of a new Ambassador-at-Large. According to the Ambassador, he met with USCIRF and wanted to provide input to the joint letter, but as of March 2015, the letter had not been approved by State. We followed up again in both August 2015 and August 2016 and were told that no progress on the letter or a joint understanding had been made. In July 2017, the President announced his nominee to be the new Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. As of August 15, 2017, the nomination is pending. State and USCIRF have not reached agreement on a letter responding to our recommendation.
    Director: Emrey Arras, Melissa H
    Phone: (617)788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better balance the benefits of expedited rulemaking procedures with the benefits of public comments that are typically part of regular notice-and-comment rulemakings, and improve the quality and transparency of rulemaking records, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chairman of Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), should issue guidance to encourage agencies to respond to comments on final major rules, for which the agency has discretion, that are issued without a prior notice of proposed rulemaking.

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

    Comments: In comments on the draft report, OMB disagreed with GAO's recommendation. OMB stated that it did not believe it was necessary to issue guidance on this topic at that time. In July 2014, OMB said that it had no further comments on this recommendation. As of June 2017, OMB had not provided any additional responses to GAO's requests for an update on the status of this recommendation.