Suggested Areas for Oversight for the 110th Congress

GAO-07-235R: Published: Nov 17, 2006. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2006.

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George H. Stalcup
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GAO is pleased to offer three sets of recommendations for consideration of the agenda of the 110th Congress. The first suggests targets for near-term oversight; the second proposes policies and programs that are in need of fundamental reform and re-engineering; and the third lists governance issues that should be addressed to help ensure an economical, efficient, effective, ethical, and equitable federal government capable of responding to the various challenges and capitalizing on related opportunities in the 21st century. Details on each of these recommendations can be found in the enclosure. GAO has three key roles to play in making a difference for the Congress and the American people: oversight, insight, and foresight. The attached lists reflect those missions and represent an effort to synthesize GAO's institutional knowledge and special expertise for the benefit of you and your colleagues in your planning efforts. In this regard, GAO believes that to be effective, congressional oversight needs to be constructive. For example, related hearings and other activities should offer opportunities for leading federal agencies to share best practices and facilitate governmentwide transformation. They should also hold people accountable for delivering positive results in an economical, efficient, effective, ethical, and equitable manner. This balanced approach is likely to help accelerate progress while avoiding a further erosion of the public's trust and confidence in government.

There are two general themes that support our recommendations. First, we cannot afford to continue business as usual in Washington, given our current deficit and growing long-term fiscal challenges. Second, most of the federal government's current policies, programs, functions, and activities are based on conditions that existed decades ago, are not results-based, and are not well aligned with 21st century realities. Therefore, there is a need to engage in a fundamental review, reprioritization, and re-engineering of the base of government.

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