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GAO’s Scorecard—How We Saved the Federal Government $70.4 Billion This Year

Posted on November 15, 2023

GAO audits federal programs and spending to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected and that programs operate effectively and efficiently. While we share our findings with Congress and the public through hundreds of reports and testimonies issued throughout the year, we also publish an annual report summarizing that year’s efforts to improve federal performance and accountability.

So, what did we find during our audits this year?

In our new Performance and Accountability Report, we highlight the $70.4 billion in financial benefits for Congress and the American people in fiscal year 2023. That’s about $84 for every dollar Congress invests in us!

“The work GAO achieved in FY 2023 on behalf of Congress and the American people demonstrates GAO’s persistent commitment to transparency and promoting better management of the federal government,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, and the head of the GAO.

Today’s WatchBlog post looks at some of the ways we’ve helped save money and improve government in FY 2023.


Cover of the FY 2023 Performance and Accountability Report.


Our performance this year

During the past fiscal year, we provided lawmakers with timely information on a range of domestic and international challenges and priorities. In FY 2023:

  • • We received 647 requests for work from 93% of the full committees of the Congress—supporting a broad range of congressional interests and working with numerous federal agencies.
  • • We issued 671 total products and made 1,345 new recommendations.
  • • We testified 57 times before 32 separate committees or subcommittees on topics including the 2023 bank failures, pandemic-related fraud, improving servicemembers’ transition to civilian life, and using AI responsibly.

Examples of our impact, as reflected in program improvements and cost savings, include: 

Financial Benefits. $27.1 billion in savings resulted from our reporting on federal agencies’ unused COVID-19 response and recovery funding. In June, Congress used this information when it passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which required certain agencies to return unused funds to the Department of the Treasury. More than $13 billion in savings resulted from GAO’s recommendations for the Office of Management and Budget to leverage federal buying power by helping agencies purchase goods and services more efficiently through fewer, larger contracts. IRS will collect about $1.5 billion in revenue in FY 2023 after Congress implemented GAO’s recommendation to revise audit rules for large partnerships—entities with more than 100 partners and $100 million in assets.

High Risk. We supported government-wide oversight through our FY 2023 High Risk List, reporting on 37 areas vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or in need of transformation. This work yielded 160 reports, 24 testimonies, $32.9 billion in financial benefits, and 468 other benefits.

Public Safety, Security, and Vulnerable Populations. Our work this year led the Departments of State and Commerce to take steps to help prevent foreign students at U.S. universities from sharing data or technology information with their home countries. Our recommendations also prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to research the effectiveness and costs of requiring trucks to have side underride guards to help prevent deaths from underride crashes.

Our work led the Department of Education to start a grant program to help high-poverty schools improve school buildings, such as updating HVAC systems. Our work also drove the Department of Defense to improve their sexual assault prevention approach for civilian employees to further foster a safe environment.

Agency Operations. Our recommendations to follow best practices from GAO’s Fraud Risk Management Framework led the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to clarify guidelines to help federal agencies manage the risk of fraud. Our work also led Treasury to implement IT controls to further protect sensitive data.

“The exceptional work and commitment of GAO employees and the continued support of Congress enables GAO to carry out our mission of oversight while improving government operations and programs for all Americans,” said Mr. Dodaro. 

Learn more about our contributions to Congress and the American people by reading our FY 2023 Performance and Accountability report.

  • • GAO’s fact-based, nonpartisan information helps Congress and federal agencies improve government. The WatchBlog lets us contextualize GAO’s work a little more for the public. Check out more of our posts at

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GAO's mission is to provide Congress with fact-based, nonpartisan information that can help improve federal government performance and ensure accountability for the benefit of the American people. GAO launched its WatchBlog in January, 2014, as part of its continuing effort to reach its audiences—Congress and the American people—where they are currently looking for information.

The blog format allows GAO to provide a little more context about its work than it can offer on its other social media platforms. Posts will tie GAO work to current events and the news; show how GAO’s work is affecting agencies or legislation; highlight reports, testimonies, and issue areas where GAO does work; and provide information about GAO itself, among other things.

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