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Released on July 15, 2019
EPA Advisory Committees: Improvements Needed for the Member Appointment Process
GAO-19-280: Published: Jul 8, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2019.
EPA advisory committees play an important role by advising EPA on air quality standards, pesticide use, and other topics. EPA's process for selecting committee members calls for EPA staff to document their assessments of the best qualified and most appropriate candidates before recommending them. EPA generally followed its process for most committees we reviewed, but did not follow this key step...
K-12 Education: Certain Groups of Students Attend Alternative Schools in Greater Proportions Than They Do Other Schools
GAO-19-373: Published: Jun 13, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2019.
Students may attend alternative K-12 public schools due to issues like poor grades and disruptive behavior. Some students attend for a few days to a few years, while others cycle in and out. Among other things, we found: Enrollment at these schools dropped between school years 2013-14 and 2015-16. Declines in White and Hispanic enrollment accounted for most of the drop Some groups, such as Blac...
Medicare: Limited Information Exists on the Effects of Synchronizing Medication Refills[back to top]
GAO-19-520: Published: Jul 15, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2019.
Not taking medications as prescribed can increase the risk of medical complications and costs. According to pharmacy groups, synchronizing medication refills can make it easier for patients to get their medications and thus promote taking them as prescribed. Pharmacists could realign refill dates for all of a patient's medications so they may be picked up together. We found no comprehensive infor...
Released on July 12, 2019
Retirement Security: Trends in Corporate Restructurings and Implications for Employee Pensions[back to top]
GAO-19-447R: Published: Jul 12, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2019.
Retirees and workers' pension benefits often depend on the financial well-being of their employers. Corporate restructurings (such as mergers and acquisitions or bankruptcy restructuring) can result in changes to retirement benefit plans. We examined trends in corporate restructuring since 1999 and their implications for pension benefits. We found that mergers and acquisitions comprised the larg...
Released on July 11, 2019
Agricultural Lending: Information on Credit and Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Is Limited
GAO-19-539: Published: Jul 11, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2019.
Can women and minorities get the loans they need to buy and operate farms? According to USDA survey data, these "socially disadvantaged" farmers and ranchers get a disproportionately small share of farm loans. More detailed information isn’t available on farm lending to these groups because lenders generally aren't allowed to record an applicant's race or sex. Advocates, industry representativ...
Border Infrastructure: Actions Needed to Improve Information on Facilities and Capital Planning at Land Border Crossings
GAO-19-534: Published: Jul 11, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2019.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilitates trade and travel at the nation’s 167 land border crossings. CBP and the General Services Administration own or lease these facilities. Many were built over 70 years ago and struggle to keep up with the usage demanded of them. We found that CBP doesn't have complete information on infrastructure conditions at these crossings. For instance, it only a...
Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Improve How It Communicates the Status of Regulation Changes
GAO-19-489: Published: Jul 11, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2019.
For years, Congress has been trying to improve how DOD buys products and services by enacting annual acquisition reform legislation. DOD implements these reforms through regulations. We found that DOD has taken actions to address 180 acquisition reforms since 2010. On average, implementation was completed within a year of the legislation being enacted, but some provisions took over 2 years to imp...
Emergency Management: FEMA's Disaster Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
GAO-19-662T: Published: Jul 11, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2019.
In the span of 14 days in September 2017, two major hurricanes—Irma and Maria—struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico estimated repairs will cost $132 billion. The USVI estimated $10.7 billion. We testified about FEMA’s response and recovery efforts through its Public Assistance program, which funds projects like debris removal and road repairs. As of April, FEMA provid...
K-12 Education: Education Should Take Immediate Action to Address Inaccuracies in Federal Restraint and Seclusion Data [Reissued with revisions on July 11, 2019.][back to top]
GAO-19-551R: Published: Jun 18, 2019. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 2019.
The Department of Education broadly defines restraint as restricting a student’s ability to move their torso, arms, legs, or head freely, and seclusion as confinement alone to an area they can't leave. Education has said these practices should only be used when a child poses imminent danger. School districts must report restraint and seclusion in Education's Civil Rights Data Collection every 2...
Released on July 09, 2019
Dam Safety: Army Corps' Decisions about and Status of Repayment for Harlan County Dam Repairs[back to top]
GAO-19-593R: Published: Jul 9, 2019. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2019.
The Army Corps operates and maintains over 700 dams, including the Harlan County Dam in Nebraska. The Corps recently repaired this dam's "Tainter gates"—which control water flow over the dam—to correct a design deficiency. Irrigators that draw water from the dam are responsible for paying for part of the $30 million repair. These repairs mark the Corps' first application of a formerly-unused...