Two members of the House committee on Armed Services expressed dissatisfaction with the suggestions by GAO on S. 91, a bill to revise the military Survivor Benefit Plan. It was also suggested that GAO should not be reviewing policy issues within the Committee's jurisdiction. GAO held that, while changes in the Survivor Benefit Plan are necessary, the changes should be made in the cost of the plan rather than in the benefits provided. One of the primary reasons for examining and commenting on Federal retirement policies and practices is that there is no overall policy covering the many programs for Federal personnel. GAO contends that its review was not an inefficient use of resources, since the GAO review has shown that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) method is inappropriate and wasteful. Therefore, GAO suggested that the S. 91 provision which would apply the OPM method to the military plan not be enacted. It is important to GAO to both honor specific congressional requests for work as well as initiate its own evaluations. It is the view of GAO that this dual role is the most effective and useful way of improving congressional oversight of the full range of Federal agencies and programs.
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