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Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office

GAO-18-448T Published: Apr 25, 2018. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2018.
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In fiscal year (FY) 2017, GAO's work resulted in a return of $128 for every dollar invested in GAO, generating almost $74 billion in financial benefits to the federal government. Implementation of GAO's recommendations led to 1,280 program and operational improvements across the federal government including many important contributions to enacted appropriations and authorization legislation. GAO reports contained more than 1,400 recommendations across a vast array of areas to foster government efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness on high priority challenges facing Congress and the nation.

Congress passed a number of laws that reflect GAO findings and recommendations and used GAO's work to improve agency operations. These will result in improved program efficiencies and services, including such areas as the acquisition of weapon systems, improved health care and suicide prevention for veterans, and an increased focus on cybersecurity. Agencies also acted on GAO's recommendations in areas such as addressing the opioid crisis by protecting newborns, improving disaster response, focusing on IT management, and addressing military readiness.

GAO is requesting budget authority of $614.8 million for FY 2019. This will fund the necessary activities to continue to meet the highest priority needs of the Congress. The funding will allow us to cover mandatory pay and inflationary cost increases, and achieve increases in our on-board staff. The request includes an appropriation of $578.9 million and $35.9 million in offsetting receipts and reimbursements from program and financial audits, rental income, training fees, bid protest fees, and funds from the disaster supplemental.

With the funding enacted for FY 2018, including $10 million in 2-year funding for information technology and building infrastructure projects, GAO revised both our FY 2018 operating plan and our FY 2019 budget request. Additional information technology resources will allow GAO to make strategic investments to modernize its communications, infrastructure, security, and document management systems. GAO will also continue to upgrade key systems that directly support the products and services we provide to the Congress. These enhancements will further improve our effectiveness and efficiency and lower our operating costs in the future. The investments in building infrastructure will allow us to bring in a new tenant and increase our rental revenue. This will allow GAO to put more funds into human capital in the future. The revised plan will put us in a position to achieve 3,100 FTE in FY 2019 without an increase over the FY 2018 appropriation level, moving GAO closer to its optimal staffing level of 3,250 FTE.

The resources we received for FY 2018, and request for FY 2019, will allow GAO to continue to respond to Congress on a wide variety of issues covering the full breadth of the federal government's responsibilities. In addition, with increased staffing we will 1) expand our focus on critical cybersecurity issues and the threats to the nation's critical infrastructure; 2) continue our focus on a range of rapidly evolving science and technology issues; 3) bolster our reviews of the increased investment in Department of Defense programs; and 4) assess the challenges associated with growing federal health care costs.


GAO's mission is to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We provide nonpartisan, objective, and reliable information to Congress, federal agencies, and to the public, and recommend improvements across the full breadth and scope of the federal government's responsibilities.

GAO responded to requests from 92 percent of the standing full committees of the Congress in fiscal year 2017. GAO issued 658 reports, 1,414 new recommendations, and testified before congressional committees 99 times. Congress used our work extensively to inform its decisions on key fiscal year 2017 and 2018 legislation. Since fiscal year 2003, GAO's work has resulted in:

  • over $785 billion dollars in financial benefits; and 
  • about 19,500 program and operational benefits that helped to change laws, improve public services, and promote sound management throughout government.

GAO remains an employer of choice in the public sector. The Partnership for Public Service announced again in 2017 that GAO one of the top places to work in the federal government. We improved our scores again in 2017, maintaining our second place position among mid-size agencies.

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Budget appropriationsBudget authorityBudget justificationBudget requestsCritical infrastructureCybersecurityFederal fundsGovernment efficiencyInformation technologyHuman capital management