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GAO’s Work Yields $70.4 Billion in Savings for the Federal Government in FY23

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 15, 2023) – The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) work yielded $70.4 billion in financial benefits for Congress and the American people in fiscal year 2023—a return of approximately $84 for each dollar invested in GAO. Additionally, GAO identified 1,220 other benefits that cannot be measured in dollars but led to program and operational improvements across the government. These accomplishments are detailed in this year’s Performance and Accountability Report for FY 2023, which provides an accounting of how the resources entrusted to us were used to support our mission and achieve results.

“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. “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.”

During the past year, GAO provided lawmakers with timely information on a range of domestic and international challenges and priorities. Examples of GAO’s impact, as reflected in program improvements and cost savings, include: 

Financial Benefits. $27.1 billion in savings resulted from GAO’s reporting on federal agencies’ unused COVID-19 response and recover funding. In June 2023, Congress used this information when it passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which required certain agencies to return unused funds to the Treasury. More than $13 billion in savings resulted from GAO’s recommendations to 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. GAO supported government-wide oversight through its FY23 High-Risk List, reporting on 37 areas designated as high-risk due to vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or because they face economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. 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 State Department and Commerce to take steps to help prevent foreign students at U.S. universities from sharing sensitive data or technology information with their home countries. Our recommendations also prompted the Department of Education to start a grant program to help high-poverty schools improve school buildings such as updating HVAC systems and drove DOD to improve their sexual assault prevention approach for civilian employees to further foster a safer environment.

Agency Operations. Our recommendations to follow best practices from GAO’s Fraud Risk Management Framework led OMB to clarify guidelines to help federal agencies manage the risk of fraud. Our work also led the Treasury Department, which manages over $31 trillion in debt, to implement IT controls to further protect sensitive data.

In addition to these benefits, GAO continued to build upon its bodies of work focused on the well-being of the American people, including challenges states faced using pandemic funding to help low-income families and essential workers access affordable childcare, improving the delivery of nutritious meals to school children, and obstacles our veterans experience when transitioning to civilian life and accessing disability benefits.

Our Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team also issued products on synthetic biology, advanced batteries, regenerative medicine, and fusion energy. We also collaborated closely with Senate and House staff—including hosting them in STAA’s Innovation Lab—to discuss wide-ranging challenges related to AI and support their efforts to develop AI legislation.

In FY 2023, GAO received 647 requests for work from 93 percent of the full committees of the Congress—supporting a broad range of congressional interests and working with virtually all 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.

For more information, contact Chuck Young in the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, is an independent, nonpartisan agency that exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonideological, fair, and balanced. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.

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Student Loan Work Results in “Service to America” Medal for GAO Director


WASHINGTON D.C. (October 16, 2023) With a career improving federal student aid programs for generations of students and student loan borrowers, U.S. Government Accountability Office Director Melissa Emrey-Arras today won a 2023 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal. Ms. Emrey-Arras, who leads GAO’s extensive body of work examining higher education and federal student aid programs, has been named the Volker Career Achievement Award recipient.