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The Congress and the President need to have reliable, useful and timely financial and performance information to make sound decisions on the current and future direction of vital federal government programs and policies. Unfortunately, except for the 2007 Statement of Social Insurance, GAO was again unable to provide assurance on the reliability of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS) due primarily to certain material weaknesses in the federal government's internal control. GAO has reported that unless these weaknesses are adequately addressed, they will, among other things, (1) hamper the federal government's ability to reliably report a significant portion of its assets, liabilities, costs, and other related information; and (2) affect the federal government's ability to reliably measure the full cost as well as the financial and nonfinancial performance of certain programs and activities. This testimony presents the results of GAO's audit of the CFS for fiscal year 2007 and discusses the federal government's long-term fiscal outlook.

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