GAO Faces $50 Million Funding Cut

Monday, 03 Oct 2011 12:36 PM

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO), whose mission is to ferret out waste and abuse, is facing $50 million in cuts this year, which could result in widespread layoffs and closing of regional offices, The Washington Post’s blog the Federal Eye reported.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., is pushing for the cuts to the federal watchdog agency, which publishes more than 1,000 reports and audits annually.

Nelson, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch, has proposed a provision that would require the GAO to detail how much it spends on each report.

The details would include how many employees worked on a given report, the number of hours spent in its production, and an accounting of travel expenses, the Post reported.

The provisions are drawing colleagues’ ire.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wrote to Nelson’s subcommittee that requiring detailed spending reports would “be an overly burdensome mandate that would further consume GAO’s dwindling resources without providing any obvious cost benefit.”

The letter, signed by four colleagues, noted that other congressional offices, including the Congressional Research Service, are not required to provide detailed spending totals, the Post reported.

Making a plea of their own, Connecticut’s independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the spending reports could to lead to “a politicization of the GAO report process as members and committees are criticized for spending money on a GAO analysis,” according to the Post.

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