Reports & Testimonies

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.

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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development outlines 11 open recommendations to prioritize. For example, HUD's "Point-in-Time" counts may underestimate the number of persons experiencing homelessness and may not accurately reflect changes in this population...

Homelessness: Enhanced Coordination Could Improve Disaster Shelter and Housing Assistance

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People experiencing homelessness, who may be in shelters or living on the streets, may be vulnerable and most severely affected by disasters like hurricanes. Two federal agencies—the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—provide funding to state and local governments that can help assist the homeless population during a disaster. However, HUD and FEMA don't regularly work together on...

Artificial Intelligence: Key Practices to Help Ensure Accountability in Federal Use

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Artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving technology that presents operational and workforce challenges for the federal government. We testified on our key practices for the responsible use of AI in federal agencies. The practices are organized around four principles—governance, data, performance, and monitoring. For example, "monitoring" calls for agencies to ensure AI systems remain reliable and relevant over time. Also, there is a severe shortage...

Health Care Capsule: Accessing Health Care in Rural America

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This Health Care Capsule summarizes our work on health care access in rural areas. Rural residents face several access challenges, including: Fewer health care providers, which limits access to specialized services Longer travel distances to get to health care and fewer transportation options than urban areas Less broadband internet, which limits access to telehealth services We've recommended that federal agencies learn more about the needs...

Priority Open Recommendations: Environmental Protection Agency

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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Environmental Protection Agency outlines 15 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, 4 of the recommendations would help EPA protect bodies of freshwater by monitoring, forecasting, and preventing algae overgrowths that can make...

Emergency Alerts: NOAA Should Take Additional Actions to Help Ensure Tsunami Alerts Reach Those at Risk

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It's critical that the public receive alerts about destructive tsunamis. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sends tsunami alerts to the public via: Emergency broadcast messages on TV and radio Emergency texts on mobile devices Social media posts and website alerts NOAA has taken steps to improve how it alerts the public, such as updating its website to allow easy access to critical information during...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Labor

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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the Department of Labor outlines 11 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, we recommended that it examine and publicly report on the extent and potential causes of racial and ethnic inequities in the...

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Transportation

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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations. This letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation outlines 20 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, in January 2023, we recommended that DOT develop a comprehensive strategy to safely integrate drones into the national airspace. DOT...

Veterans Health Care: Staffing Challenges and Recommendations for Improvement

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The Veterans Health Administration operates the nation's largest health care system. In recent years, VHA has had difficulty attracting and retaining enough staff to meet the growing health care needs of veterans. We testified about our recent work on VHA's workforce challenges, including: meeting staffing needs to manage referrals to health care providers outside of VHA recruiting and retaining mental health care staff to provide...

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Grants Management: Actions Needed to Improve Agency Reporting of Expired Grants

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Each year, federal agencies award hundreds of billions of dollars in grants. After each grant ends, the awarding agency generally has 1 year to officially close out the grant. Until then, unspent funds from the grant can't be used for any other purpose. Grants that aren't closed out in time are considered "expired." Agencies must report on expired grants with unspent funds. However, some parts...

Vehicle Safety: Extent of Open Recalls among Ridesharing Vehicles

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Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft connect passengers with drivers via mobile apps. Most ridesharing drivers use their personal vehicles. All passenger vehicles can be subject to recalls—when automakers notify car owners that certain repairs are needed for safety. Most drivers aren't legally required to fix recalled cars, and ridesharing passengers don't know the recall status of their rides. About 16% of ridesharing vehicles...

DOD Financial Management: Additional Actions Needed to Achieve a Clean Audit Opinion on DOD’s Financial Statements

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DOD has been working to improve its long-standing financial management problems and achieve its goal of a "clean" audit opinion on its financial statements. A clean opinion is when auditors find that the statements are presented fairly and consistent with accounting principles. DOD has taken steps, such as developing corrective actions and roadmaps, to get to a clean audit opinion. But we found DOD's plans...

Cybersecurity: DOT Defined Roles and Responsibilities, but Additional Oversight Needed

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The Department of Transportation has established cybersecurity roles and responsibilities for officials that manage cybersecurity at agencies within the department. DOT's Chief Information Officer regularly communicates with staff about cyber threats, and provides cybersecurity tools and technical assistance. However, we found that DOT could improve how it implements cybersecurity policies. For example, DOT reviewed component agency cybersecurity programs for agencies within the department, but didn't...

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Lake Pontchartrain Basin: Additional Transparency and Performance Management Could Improve EPA's Restoration Program

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Stormwater, sewage, and agricultural runoff have polluted waters of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin for decades. From 2002 to 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency awarded about $31 million for projects to help restore this basin by, for example, improving local sewer systems. EPA has a plan that describes restoration goals for this basin and projects that could help reach the goals. However, it doesn't have a...

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Coast Guard: Recruitment and Retention Challenges Persist

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The Coast Guard protects more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and waterways. But the service has reported that it needs more staff and has missed recruiting targets for the past four years. This testimony covers our work on the Coast Guard's recruitment and retention challenges. The service may miss key opportunities to tackle these issues unless it implements plans to address future workforce needs...

Public Health Preparedness: Critical Need to Address Deficiencies in HHS's Leadership and Coordination of Emergencies

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The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for leading and coordinating the federal government's preparedness for and response to public health emergencies. We testified about our work from over a decade, which identified persistent, systemic problems with HHS's performance in this role. The issue was added to our High Risk List in January 2022. These problems affected the nation's response to COVID-19 and...

340B Drug Discount Program: Information about Hospitals That Received an Eligibility Exception as a Result of COVID-19

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The 340B Program allows certain hospitals to buy outpatient drugs at discounted prices. To be eligible for the program, hospitals generally must treat a minimum percentage of low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients. In 2022, Congress passed a law allowing hospitals to request an exception to this requirement if they were unable to meet it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Resources and Services Administration...

Export Promotion: Commerce Should Improve Workforce Planning and Management of Its Global Markets Unit

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The Global Markets unit in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration helps small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses enter and expand into international markets. We found that the Global Markets unit hasn't developed a comprehensive strategic workforce plan that covers all of its employees. Doing so would help focus priorities across the domestic and overseas workforces. In addition, the unit's human capital office has had vacancies...

Bank Regulation: Preliminary Review of Agency Actions Related to March 2023 Bank Failures

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This testimony discusses our review of the March 2023 bank failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Risky business strategies, weak risk management practices, and weak liquidity drove the failures. Both banks grew rapidly from 2019-2021—which can signal risk. Further, the growth was fueled heavily by deposits that weren't federally insured. Federal regulators raised concerns about these risks with the banks but didn't take...

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Information Technology: Agencies Need to Continue Addressing Critical Legacy Systems

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Each year, the U.S. government spends over $100 billion on information technology. Most of that will be used to operate and maintain existing systems, including aging—or "legacy"—systems. These systems can be costly to maintain and vulnerable to hackers. This testimony updates our work in this area. In 2019, we analyzed 65 federal legacy systems and identified the 10 most critical at 10 agencies. The agencies...