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Before the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on 
Appropriations, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 1:00 p.m. EDT:
Tuesday, April 28, 2009: 

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

Statement of Gene L. Dodaro:
Acting Comptroller General of the United States: 


[End of section] 

Madam Chair, Ranking Member Aderholt, and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the U.S. 
Government Accountability Office's (GAO) budget request for fiscal year 
2010. At the outset, I want to thank the subcommittee for its support 
of GAO. We appreciate your efforts to appropriate a fiscal year 2009 
amount that provides GAO with the resources that will better allow us 
to timely assist the Congress in addressing the many difficult 
challenges facing the nation. I also want to acknowledge the 
professionalism, talents, and dedication of the GAO workforce in 
supporting the Congress and improving government for the American 

In fiscal year 2008 GAO delivered advice and analyses to the Congress 
in response to requests from all of the standing committees of the 
House and the Senate and over 80 percent of their subcommittees. The 
hard work of our staff yielded significant results across the 
government, including expert testimony at over 300 congressional 
hearings, hundreds of improvements in government operations, and 
billions in financial benefits. 

I submit for your consideration a request for a fiscal year 2010 
appropriation of $567.5 million to support 3,250 full-time-equivalent 
(FTE) staff. This request represents an increase of $36.5 million, or 
6.9 percent, over our fiscal year 2009 funding level, which supports a 
3.5 percent increase over our 2009 FTE level. Importantly, almost 70 
percent of our requested increase is needed for mandatory pay and 
uncontrollable cost increases. While we will strive to make progress in 
responding to new congressional requests sooner with our fiscal year 
2009 funding level, our fiscal year 2010 request would enable GAO to 
make more progress in addressing the issues of greatest interest to the 
Congress and the American public during these challenging times, which 
is my highest priority. I am also requesting authority to use $15.2 
million in offsetting collections, as detailed in our budget 

GAO Delivers Results on an Increasing Range of Federal Programs: 

The Congress continues to rely on GAO's nonpartisan, objective analysis 
and advice and has placed new responsibilities and opportunities with 
GAO to play key roles in addressing a number of emerging issues. We are 
addressing challenges in the financial markets and broader economy 
through our work overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), 
created in 2008. We continue to monitor and report, every 60 days, on 
the status of the implementation of TARP, and plan to conduct an annual 
financial audit of the $700 billion authorized for the program. 

Additionally, GAO is carrying out a range of responsibilities 
overseeing spending related to the 2009 American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act (ARRA)--including bimonthly reviews of how selected 
states and localities across the country are using the billions of 
dollars of funds provided--and providing targeted studies in several 
areas such as small business lending, education, and expanded trade 
adjustment assistance. 

Over the next several years, our work will encompass critical areas, 

* reviewing progress in implementing key activities for the 2010 

* helping to support the Congress's consideration of changes in the 
regulatory structure for financial markets and institutions, including 
the establishment and implementation of controls to help avoid a future 
financial crisis of the magnitude the nation faces today; 

* reviewing the revised governance structure for the housing market and 
providing targeted analyses to inform decision makers working to 
restore the functioning of the mortgage market and resolve the ultimate 
disposition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; 

* supporting health care reform efforts and control of health care 
costs through analysis of expenditures and payment structures in 
Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and 
other health programs; 

* reviewing the impact of drawing down resources in Iraq, providing 
more resources in Afghanistan, and retooling operations in Pakistan; 

* providing balanced and objective assessments of technologies in the 
context of federal programs and public policy issues, such as green 
energy, energy efficiency, health information technology, homeland 
security technologies, climate change, science and math education 
programs, as well as the technical challenges of developing 
sophisticated space and defense systems; 

* reviewing initiatives to enhance protection of cyber assets; 

* assessing contractor management, sourcing strategies, and contracting 
reforms; and: 

* helping the Congress tackle new and continuing high-risk areas, such 
as protecting public health through enhanced oversight over medical 
products, food safety, and toxic chemicals. 

Finally, as part of fulfilling our commitments under the Presidential 
Transition Act, as amended, GAO is serving as a key resource for the 
Congress and the Administration on major challenges needing the 
attention of the 28 largest departments and agencies across government, 
as well as 13 issues facing our nation that require urgent attention 
and continuing oversight. In addition to those already mentioned, these 

* preparing for public health emergencies, 

* improving the U.S. image abroad, 

* protecting the homeland, 

* caring for service members, and: 

* defense spending and readiness. 

Our studies receive great interest not only from the Congress but from 
the American people. For example, while our reports routinely receive 
media and public interest, in the first half of fiscal year 2009 12 GAO 
studies were downloaded over 10,000 times each from our external Web 
site, [hyperlink,]. These studies covered an array 
of important issues, including: 

* veterans' health care and the challenges of recruiting and retaining 
inpatient nurses, 

* Medicaid outpatient drug reimbursements and comparisons with retail 
pharmacy acquisition costs, 

* private equity and the risk of leveraged buyouts, 

* the outdated financial regulatory system and the need for a 
modernized framework, and: 

* defense logistics and the need for better analyses and cost data to 
support performance-based decisions. 

In addition to studies in response to congressional requests, GAO 
issues products that provide agencies with guidance and best practices, 
or otherwise support greater accountability and oversight in 
government. In the first half of fiscal year 2009 13 of these products 
were downloaded over 10,000 times each from our external Web site. The 
top 5 picks were (1) special publications on the principles of 
appropriations law; (2) the 2009 High Risk Update; (3) updated guidance 
on government auditing standards; (4) the GAO cost estimating and 
assessment guide; and (5) highlights of our May 2007 health care forum 
focusing on steps needed to meet future challenges. 

I am pleased by the recognition GAO receives from ordinary Americans 
and civil servants alike as a source of reliable, unbiased information 
about how government operations can be improved. 

High Congressional Demand for GAO Services: 

GAO is an invaluable resource for helping the Congress provide 
oversight, accountability, and transparency in government. The demand 
for GAO services continues to remain high as a direct result of the 
high quality of our work, and is an indication of the Congress's desire 
for timely and objective analyses and professional advice. In each of 
fiscal years 2007 and 2008, GAO received over 1,200 requests and 
mandates. The number of congressional mandates, our highest-priority 
work, more than doubled from fiscal year 2007 to 2008. In addition, as 
evidenced above, our studies are covering more and more complex issues 
across a broad range of federal programs, requiring more in-depth 
analysis to complete. 

This congressional demand for GAO studies also has affected our ability 
to respond promptly to congressional requests. For instance, in fiscal 
year 2008, GAO delayed starting work on 21 percent of the requests we 
had accepted because of staff unavailability. The average time we took 
to initiate congressionally requested engagements was almost 5 months 
in the first half of 2009, compared with less than 3 months in fiscal 
year 2005. 

In addition, GAO executives are providing testimony at an increased 
number of congressional hearings. The 304 hearings at which we 
testified in fiscal year 2008 was the second highest number for GAO in 
the last 25 years. 

We expect to continue to receive a high volume of requests as the 
nation faces new challenges such as the recent developments in the 
financial markets and economy, and the many emerging initiatives of the 
Congress and the Administration. Moreover, recent changes to House 
rules requires each standing committee or subcommittee to hold at least 
one hearing on issues raised by GAO that indicate that federal programs 
or operations authorized by the committee are at high risk for fraud, 
waste, abuse, or mismanagement. 

Our January 2009 issuance of the biennial High-Risk Series: An Update, 
which identifies federal areas and programs at risk of fraud, waste, 
abuse, and mismanagement and those in need of broad-based 
transformations, identified 30 at-risk federal programs. Issued to 
coincide with the start of each new Congress, our high risk updates 
have helped to focus and sustain attention to these programs from 
executive branch officials who are accountable for performance and from 
members of the Congress who are responsible for oversight. The report 
is available on our website at [hyperlink,]. 

GAO's Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request: 

With the increased capacity included in our fiscal year 2010 
appropriation request, we can continue to assist the Congress with 
oversight over a broad range of federal programs. As a knowledge-based 
organization, about 80 percent of GAO's budget funds staff compensation 
and benefits, with much of the balance of our budget funding mandatory 
operating expenses, such as security services and other critical 
infrastructure services necessary to support our ongoing operations. 
For this reason, the significant majority of our requested funding 
increase is not discretionary. 

Our requested increase for fiscal year 2010 of $36.5 million seeks 
funds to cover: 

* mandatory pay increases resulting primarily from annual across-the- 
board performance-based increases and pay raises required by the GAO 
Act, including the annualization of prior fiscal year compensation 

* uncontrollable inflationary increases imposed by vendors as part of 
the cost of doing business; 

* nonrecurring fiscal year 2009 costs resulting from program 
improvements, which can offset about one-third of our mandatory and 
inflationary changes; 

* strengthening our staff capacity to provide timely support to the 
Congress in confronting the broad array of critical challenges facing 
the nation, including: 

(1) helping to support the Congress's consideration of changes in the 
regulatory structure for financial markets and institutions, 

(2) providing targeted analyses to inform decision makers working to 
restore the functioning of the mortgage market, 

(3) supporting health care reform efforts and the control of health 
care costs, and: 

(4) providing assessments of technologies in the context of federal 
programs and public policy issues, and: 

* program changes supporting critical investments to (1) provide 
employee development and benefits, (2) implement technological 
improvements, and (3) strengthen our infrastructure. 

Table 1: Fiscal Year 2010 Summary of Requested Changes (Dollars in 

Budget category: FY 2008 actual; 
FTEs: 3,081; 
Amount: $498,548. 

Budget category: FY 2009 revised estimate; 
FTEs: 3,141; 
Amount: $531,000. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Mandatory pay; 
Amount: $19,475; 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 3.7%. 

Budget category: Inflationary cost increases; 
Amount: $5,714; 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 4.7%. 

Budget category: Nonrecurring FY 2009 costs; 
Amount: ($8,338); 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 3.2%. 

Budget category: Staff capacity; 
FTEs: 109; 
Amount: $16,826; 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.3%. 

Budget category: Program changes; 
Amount: $10,407; 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 8.3%. 

Budget category: Increase in offsetting collections; 
Amount: ($7,587); 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.9%. 

Budget category: Subtotal-requested changes; 
FTEs: 109; 
Amount: $36,497. 

Budget category: Appropriation; 
FTEs: 3,250; 
Amount: $567,497; 
Cumulative percentage of change from FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.9%. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

Concluding Remarks: 

I believe that you will find our budget request well justified and 
targeted to ensure that GAO has the necessary staff and resources to 
strengthen our capacity to provide timely assistance to the Congress to 
confront the difficult challenges facing the nation and help improve 
government for the American people. 

With your support of our request, we will continue to reward the 
confidence you place in us by maintaining a strong return on this 
investment as we help to improve services to the public, change laws, 
and improve government operations. 

We are grateful for the Congress's continued support of our efforts to 
help improve government performance, accountability, and transparency. 
GAO remains committed to providing accurate, objective, nonpartisan, 
and constructive information to the Congress to help conduct effective 
oversight and fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. 

Madam Chair, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased 
to respond to any questions that you or other Members of the 
Subcommittee might have. 

[End of section] 

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