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Implementing GAO’s Open Matters and Recommendations Could Produce Billions in Financial Benefits and Improve Government Operations

Washington, D.C. (July 25, 2023) – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued a report listing more than 200 open recommendations GAO has made to Congress to help improve the effectiveness of the federal government and save taxpayer dollars. Since 2000, GAO has recommended that Congress consider more than 1,100 matters to address findings from GAO’s work. While Congress has acted upon more than 80 percent of them, 218 matters remain open.

In addition to recommendations to Congress, GAO also makes hundreds of recommendations each year to federal agencies to make the government work more efficiently and effectively. When Congress or agencies implement matters and recommendations, government expenditures are often reduced, funds put to better use, or federal revenues increased. In a report issued last month, GAO estimated that the more than 5,000 open matters and recommendations to Congress and agencies have the potential to produce $92 billion to $182 billion of measurable, future financial benefits.

“Today’s report directs Congressional attention to these critical open matters that, if implemented, could result in significant financial and other benefits to our nation.” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. “By addressing these matters, as well as the thousands of open agency recommendations, we could see billions of dollars in savings, major improvements in how federal programs operate, and be better positioned as a nation to address future financial and other challenges.”

Open matters for congressional consideration span a wide range of topics throughout the federal government. Topic areas include energy, information technology, tax policy and administration, science and the environment, health, defense, and economic development, among others. Some notable examples of currently open matters are:

  • An open matter with substantial potential financial benefits points to a December 2015 recommendation on Medicare. Congress could consider directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to equalize payment rates between settings for medical services. Then the associated savings could be returned to the Medicare program. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that this could result in $141 billion in financial benefits from fiscal years 2021 through 2030.
  • One of the newest open matters was reported in May 2023 and relates to the Department of Defense's most expensive weapon system—the F-35 aircraft. The program is now more than a decade behind schedule and $183 billion over original cost estimates.
  • The oldest open matter is more than 20 years old and remains highly relevant to addressing one of the issues on GAO’s High-Risk List—Improving Oversight of Food Safety.

As the federal government’s Congressional watchdog, GAO is committed to serving Congress in addressing the nation’s challenges and providing assistance and information on the matters we have raised for congressional consideration. There are various strategies that Congress can use in addressing these matters. These include passing legislation, holding hearings, and using budget, appropriations, and oversight processes to highlight these matters. Addressing congressional matters has the potential for substantial financial and other benefits to the nation. A complete list of GAO’s current open matters for congressional consideration, as well as additional cost savings reports and recommendations, can be found on the GAO website.

For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of GAO Public Affairs at or 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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