GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
We found that the Departments of the Interior and Treasury faced challenges distributing over $8 billion in certain CARES Act funds for tribes.
Also, Treasury's formula for allocating some of the funds used certain population data without consulting with tribes about the data's limitations.
As part of our role in helping Congress to oversee its own funds, we performed certain procedures that were requested on behalf of the Secretary of the Senate. We independently counted the cash and noncash items (e.g., cashed checks) in the Senate Disbursing Office on Aug. 10.
Many federal agencies like the National Park Service and Federal Aviation Administration rely, in part, on user fees. In FY 2019, federal agencies collected over $100 billion in fees dedicated to specific purposes like park maintenance and airport improvements.
The federal response to COVID-19 led to unprecedented spending. Treasury quickly sold securities to raise $3.8 trillion. Meanwhile, Treasury increased its cash-on-hand to over $1 trillion to help deal with the uncertainty around federal pandemic-related spending.
Every year we audit the federal debt, which the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service manages. The Schedule of Federal Debt reported that as of Sept. 30, 2020, it was about $26.9 trillion.
Fiscal Service made some progress since our last audit.
The Financial Report of the U.S. Government provides a comprehensive view of government finances, including revenues and costs, assets and liabilities, long-term sustainability, and—this year—the financial impact of the federal COVID-19 response.
As of Sept. 30, 2020, the federal debt was $26.9 trillion—up $4.2 trillion from last year, due largely to the government's COVID-19 response.
Treasury's Fiscal Service borrows the money for federal operations. It reports the debt in a financial statement called the Schedule of Federal Debt.
Even before COVID-19, the federal government's long-term fiscal path was unsustainable because debt was growing faster than the economy. By the end of FY 2019, debt held by the public had climbed to 79% of GDP. It is expected to reach 195% of GDP by FY 2050.