Skip to Highlights
Highlights

Pursuant to various statutes, federal agencies develop an abundance of performance, budget, and financial information that could be useful for Congress' review and monitoring of agencies. However, agencies' understanding of Congress' information needs is often limited and agencies may not be providing timely information in a format that aids congressional understanding of trends and issues. Thus, Members and their staff may not be aware of or avail themselves to certain information. To describe the information available and how it might be used to support congressional oversight, the Federal Aviation Administration was selected as a case study in part due to the large quantity of information already available. GAO was asked to identify: (1) information FAA produces that could enhance congressional oversight, (2) other technology and information resources that could enhance congressional oversight, and (3) how committee access to FAA's information could be improved to enhance its timeliness and usefulness.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. To further enhance committee access to FAA information, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to continue to work with committee staff to further refine the For Congress Web site by improving the flow of information and taking advantage of emerging technologies.
Closed - Implemented
FAA has maintained a "For Congress" webpage that includes timely and relevant information of interest to Congress. Specifically, the page lists performance data and statistics and key reports for Congress, including budget, planning and performance documents. By providing continually updated information on its website, FAA has improved the flow of information to Congress. Further, congressional users may subscribe to the page so that they are automatically informed of new information.
Department of Transportation 2. To further enhance committee access to FAA information, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to include a Frequently Asked Questions page on the For Congress site, allowing oversight committees to quickly find answers to commonly requested items relevant to Congress.
Closed - Implemented
FAA has maintained a "For Congress" webpage that includes timely and relevant information of interest to Congress. Specifically, the page lists performance data and statistics and key reports for Congress, including budget, planning and performance documents. Through this website, FAA can provide quick access to the information that is frequently requested by Congress and its staff. In addition, although not specifically targeted to Congress, the FAA website includes a Frequent Asked Questions page that is available to Congress and provides useful information on a wide variety of topics.
Department of Transportation 3. To further enhance committee access to FAA information, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to add moderated access on the For Congress Web site to allow access to information that should be made available to congressional committees, yet may not be appropriate for the general public.
Closed - Not Implemented
Although FAA originally agreed to the recommendation, they have taken no action to provide moderated access to congressional committees. Subsequent changes in congressional committee makeup suggest this may no longer be a priority.
Department of Transportation 4. To further enhance committee access to FAA information, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to consider offering regular meetings between the Members of the committee and key staff with senior FAA executives to address matters of mutual concern.
Closed - Not Implemented
Although FAA originally agreed to the recommendation, they have taken no action to set up regular meetings. Subsequent changes in congressional committee makeup suggest this may no longer be a priority. On FAA's "For Congress" web page, FAA provides individual points of contact for key FAA components. While helpful, this action does not address the issue we identified at the time of our review.

Full Report