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Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request: U.S. Government Accountability Office

GAO-19-451T Published: Apr 10, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2019.
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Fast Facts

In fiscal year 2018, our work yielded a record $75.1 billion in financial benefits, a return of about $124 for every dollar invested in us. We also identified 1,294 other benefits that led to better services for the American people and other improvements across government.

U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro discusses GAO's fiscal year 2020 budget request in this testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on Appropriations.

The testimony also describes:

Our previous accomplishments

The improvements we expect to make to our own operations

The subject areas where we expect to do work to meet Congress' needs


GAO headquarters in Washington DC

GAO headquarters in Washington DC

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Since 2014, this Subcommittee has provided funding that has resulted in our work achieving over $340 billion in financial benefits and more than 6,300 other improvements in federal programs and operations for our government. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, GAO's work yielded a record $75.1 billion in financial benefits, a return of about $124 for every dollar invested in GAO. We also identified 1,294 other benefits that led to improved services and public safety for the American people and program and operational improvements across the government.

For FY 2020, GAO is requesting $647.6 million in appropriated funds, and authority to use $38.3 million in offsetting receipts and reimbursements, a 9.8 percent increase. These resources will fund 3,250 full-time equivalents (FTE). The funding requested will also allow us to continue to make investments in our information technology and infrastructure, security requirements, as well as address long deferred building maintenance needs.

This level of funding will enable GAO to meet the highest priority needs of the Congress, as we remain committed in helping Congress meet its constitutional responsibilities for the benefit of the American people. In FY 2018, for example, we received 786 requests, including hundreds of statutory requirements, for work from 90 percent of the standing committees of Congress supporting a broad range of oversight and legislative priorities. The activities planned for FY 2020 will better position GAO to assist the Congress in meeting its legislative and oversight responsibilities, accomplish our mission objectives and goals, and improve government performance and accountability.

In FY 2020, we will continue to support Congressional oversight across the wide array of government programs and operations. We also will continue to increase our capabilities to review the opportunities and challenges associated with evolving science and technology issues; the risks and management needs to address complex and growing cyber security developments; increased investments in the Department of Defense; and rising health care costs.

In January, we established a new Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team to continue and expand our focus on rapidly evolving science and technology issues. The team will focus on: (1) conducting technology assessments at the request of the Congress; (2) providing technical assistance to Congress on science and technology matters; (3) continuing to develop and use technical guides to assess major federal acquisitions and technology programs in areas such as cost estimating, schedule planning and technology readiness; (4) supporting Congressional oversight of federal science programs; and (5) advancing GAO's ability to use data analytics in auditing. We also will continue to further enhance our capacity to assess efforts to protect our nation from cyber threats. Specifically, we recently highlighted urgent actions needed to ensure the cybersecurity of our nation.

We also renamed our Information Technology team to Information Technology and Cybersecurity in order to better reflect the significant body of work the team does on protecting federal information systems, critical infrastructure, and individual privacy from cyber threats. GAO will also support continued congressional oversight of DOD's efforts to balance current operational deployments with fulfilling the full spectrum of future military needs, as well as the federal government's challenges in effectively and efficiently managing health care programs.


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 90 percent of the standing full committees of the Congress in fiscal year 2018. GAO issued 633 reports, 1,650 new recommendations, and testified before 48 congressional committees 98 times. Congress used our work extensively to inform its decisions on key fiscal year 2018 and 2019 legislation. Since fiscal year 2000, GAO's work has resulted in:

  • nearly $1 trillion dollars in financial benefits; and 
  • over 23,000 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 2018 that GAO one of the top places to work in the federal government, placing fourth position among mid-size agencies and first for supporting diversity.

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