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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Food Safety: FDA Oversight of Substances Used in Manufacturing, Packaging, and Transporting Food Could Be Strengthened

GAO-23-104434
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Food processing and packaging can introduce non-food substances, such as those used to greaseproof paper takeout containers, into food. Some of these substances may pose health risks. FDA reviews information on the safety of such substances before their first use. As new information becomes available that suggests a substance may pose a health risk, FDA will occasionally reevaluate it based on the new information. But...

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Aviation Security: TSA Should Assess Potential for Discrimination and Better Inform Passengers of the Complaint Process

GAO-23-105201
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TSA—which screens over 1.5 million airline passengers daily—has faced allegations that some of its screening practices may negatively affect certain passengers. Stakeholder groups and TSA officials said that TSA's advanced imaging technology and other practices could result in certain passengers—like people who are transgender, wear religious headwear, or have disabilities—being referred more frequently for additional screening. But TSA hasn't collected data on these referrals or...

Private Health Insurance: Markets Remained Concentrated through 2020, with Increases in the Individual and Small Group Markets

GAO-23-105672
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Several companies may be selling health insurance in a given market, but, as we previously reported, most people usually enroll with one of a small number of insurers. Known as market concentration, this can result in higher premiums due to less competition in the market. We found this pattern continued in 2019 and 2020, with the markets for individuals and for small employers generally becoming...

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Renewable Fuel Standard: Actions Needed to Improve Decision-Making in the Small Refinery Exemption Program

GAO-23-105801
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Small refineries can apply for an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires the blending of biofuel into gasoline and diesel. The number of exemptions granted through this program has fluctuated significantly from year to year. But the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy don't have the information, policies, or procedures needed to fully ensure that exemption decisions are valid. EPA also...

Renewable Fuel Standard: Actions Needed to Improve Decision-Making in the Small Refinery Exemption Program

GAO-23-104273
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Small refineries can apply for an exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires the blending of biofuel into gasoline and diesel. The number of exemptions granted through this program has fluctuated significantly from year to year. But the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy don't have the information, policies, or procedures needed to fully ensure that exemption decisions are valid. EPA also...

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Northern Triangle: DOD and State Need Improved Policies to Address Equipment Misuse

GAO-23-105856
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Para la versión de esta página en español, ver a GAO-23-106186. DOD and the State Department provide equipment—such as vehicles and night-vision goggles—to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This assistance is intended to help address widespread security challenges and totaled over $66 million from FYs 2017-2021. Some equipment has allegedly been misused. For example, government officials in Guatemala allegedly used Jeeps from DOD to intimidate...

Coast Guard: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Efforts

GAO-23-105289
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To improve safety in the extremely dangerous commercial fishing industry, Coast Guard examines fishing vessels' documents and safety equipment, and conducts outreach to fishers, among other efforts. But, Coast Guard hasn't fully implemented 17 of 22 statutory requirements to improve commercial fishing vessel safety. For example, Coast Guard hasn't developed a training program for commercial fishers or re-established an advisory committee on industry safety issues...

Department of Justice: Actions Needed to Better Track and Monitor Responses to Congressional Correspondence

GAO-23-105231
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Congress sends hundreds of letters to DOJ every year seeking information on topics related to U.S. law enforcement and justice. However, Members of Congress have raised concerns about DOJ's responsiveness to their requests. We found that DOJ doesn't collect accurate and complete information on its responses to congressional inquiries—which means it can't effectively track these responses. It also doesn't have agency-wide performance measures to monitor...

Triángulo Norte: Los Departamentos de Defensa y de Estado necesitan políticas mejoradas para abordar el uso indebido de equipo

GAO-23-106186
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To see the version of this page in English, see GAO-23-105856. El Departamento de Defensa (DOD, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Departamento de Estado (State, por su nombre en inglés) proporcionan equipo—como vehículos y gafas de visión nocturna—a El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras. Esta asistencia está destinada a asistir en abordar los retos de seguridad, y se suma a más de $66 millones...

Satellite Licensing: FCC Should Reexamine Its Environmental Review Process for Large Constellations of Satellites

GAO-23-105005
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By 2030, tens of thousands of commercial satellites are expected to join the thousands of satellites already in orbit. Scientists and others have raised concerns about the potential environmental and other effects of large quantities of satellites. Companies submit satellite launch proposals to the Federal Communications Commission for licensing. FCC reviews potential environmental effects—unless the proposal is in a category that FCC has excluded from...

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Professional Standards Update No. 86

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Oversight of the Length of the Charge Intake Process is Needed

GAO-23-106245
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People who believe they've experienced employment discrimination can inquire with the EEOC about filing charges. After EEOC officials interview them, charges can be filed. EEOC received over 145,000 inquiries and 60,000 discrimination charges in FY2021—underscoring the importance of EEOC efficiently managing its inventory of open charges. But, EEOC doesn't monitor how long it takes from when a person files an inquiry to when EEOC officials...

Economic Development: Status of Recommendations on Empowerment Zones and Other Selected Community Investment Initiatives

GAO-23-106113
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Some communities in the U.S. are designated as "Empowerment Zones" as part of a program established by Congress in 1993 to reduce unemployment and stimulate economic growth. The communities receive grants and/or tax incentives. We've reported on Empowerment Zones over the years and have made one recommendation to three of the agencies responsible for administering the program. The agencies have addressed some aspects of the...

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Federal Real Property: Agencies Attribute Substantial Increases in Reported Deferred Maintenance to Multiple Factors

GAO-23-106124
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Federal buildings and structures need billions of dollars in maintenance and repairs each year. Agencies can postpone or "defer" this work for a variety of reasons. Over time, this can create a backlog of maintenance and repair needs and result in higher future maintenance costs. Civilian agencies—i.e., non-military agencies—deferred $51 billion worth of repairs and maintenance in FY 2017. That amount grew to $76 billion...

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Veterans Employment: Promising VA Technology Education Pilot Would Benefit from Better Outcome Measures and Plans for Improvement

GAO-23-105343
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More than 6,700 veterans enrolled in a Veterans Affairs' technology education program from May 2019-May 2022. About 66% of the enrollees completed training. But VA doesn't have a full picture of how well this pilot program is working or ways to improve it. For example, VA doesn't know why some veterans (13%) dropped out of the program. And VA can't assess how effective the program...

K-12 Education: Education Should Assess Its Efforts to Address Teacher Shortages

GAO-23-105180
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The U.S. is experiencing a shortage of teachers—a problem that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teacher shortages are more prevalent in: western states rural and urban communities high-poverty communities certain subject areas, including foreign languages, physical science, and special education The Department of Education introduced its vision in the summer of 2022 for "Supporting and Elevating the Teaching Profession." But, the department's strategy doesn't have...

Consumer Product Safety Commission: Action Needed to Improve Preparedness for Product Examination Disruptions

GAO-23-105445
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From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic through August 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted significantly fewer examinations of imported products. Working remotely, CPSC investigators conducted 850 examinations compared to 4,537 during the same period in 2019. CPSC wasn't well prepared entering the pandemic, when port staff stopped conducting onsite examinations. The agency made decisions about its operations and remote procedures as conditions evolved...

Behavioral Health: Available Workforce Information and Federal Actions to Help Recruit and Retain Providers

GAO-23-105250
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Behavioral health conditions—including mental health and substance use disorders—affect millions of Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic may have also increased the number of people affected. A well-trained and diverse behavioral health care workforce is critical to providing the services people need. We reviewed Department of Health and Human Services information on the number of behavioral health care providers nationwide and found barriers to recruiting and retaining...

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Disaster Assistance: Actions Needed to Strengthen FEMA's Housing Inspections Process

GAO-23-104750
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After a major disaster, survivors can apply for the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Individuals and Households program for temporary housing or home repair funds. Of the 2.7 million applicants from Jan. 2018-Nov. 2021, FEMA authorized housing inspections (to determine eligibility) for about half of them. FEMA has taken steps to improve its housing inspections process. Since an Apr. 2020 streamlining effort, FEMA's inspectors are using...

Immigration Detention: Actions Needed to Collect Consistent Information for Segregated Housing Oversight

GAO-23-105366
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can, under certain circumstances, place detained noncitizens in segregated housing—one to two person cells separate from the general population. There were 14,581 such placements from FYs 2017-2021. ICE oversees segregated housing, and also monitors placements involving vulnerable persons—e.g., those with medical or mental health conditions. But it relies on reports and data that don't always have enough detail about the...