WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), chair of the spending oversight subcommittee, led a hearing today to examine ways Congress can act on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) annual report on duplication, overlap, and fragmentation in the federal government. The report includes recommendations to cut wasteful spending and help save taxpayer dollars.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
Senator Hassan began, “Progress made by the Executive Branch and Congress to address some of the more than 1,100 actions and recommendations made in these reports has improved agency performance and resource management. It has also saved billions of taxpayer dollars and enhanced service delivery to the American people. GAO’s newest report makes 112 recommendations in 33 new and existing issue areas.”
Senator Hassan questioned Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, about the importance of cutting wasteful spending, including improper payments, and went on to highlight the bipartisan Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored and is now law.
“If we considered improper payments like an agency budget, it would be the third largest agency in terms of discretionary spending, just behind the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services,” Senator Hassan said. “Last year, Congress finally passed legislation to expand information sharing between agencies to address improper payments. This legislation is expected to significantly curb wasteful spending associated with improper payments, and I was glad to support it.”
Mr. Dodaro told Senator Hassan that he has spoken with members of the Biden administration to quickly implement this critical cost-saving measure.
Senator Hassan also discussed bipartisan legislation that she introduced with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to address another recommendation from the 2019 GAO duplication report, that Congress authorize the U.S. Mint to modify the metallic composition of coins in circulation. The U.S. Mint estimates that by adjusting the metal content of circulating coins, the federal government could save between $10-17 million a year.
Additionally, Senator Hassan questioned Mr. Dodaro on the importance of completing the federal program inventory, which could improve how federal agencies and GAO identify wasteful duplicative federal programs. Last year, the Senator worked to pass into law the bipartisan Taxpayers Right to Know Act, which compiles a public database detailing the costs and purposes of government programs, which enables Congress to increase transparency and curb wasteful spending. Mr. Dodaro said that he has met with relevant government agencies to encourage their progress in completing their inventory.
As Chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, Senator Hassan is focused on ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. In 2019, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers approximately $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.