Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its effects on public health and the economy is among the country’s highest immediate priorities. At the same time, opportunities exist for achieving billions of dollars in financial savings and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a wide range of federal programs in other areas
New Areas of Concern in 2020
On May 19, 2020, GAO released its 10th annual report on opportunities to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs—as well as opportunities to save money and increase revenue. So far, our annual reports have helped the federal government save about $429 billion!
Additionally, we updated our Action Tracker, an online tool that monitors the progress Congress and federal agencies have made in addressing the actions we’ve identified.
This report outlines 168 new actions that Congress or executive branch agencies can take to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government in 29 new areas and in 10 existing areas.
- The Navy could save billions of dollars by strengthening its acquisition practices and ensuring that ships can be efficiently sustained.
- The Internal Revenue Service could save billions of dollars by improving efforts to prevent identity theft refund fraud.
- Improved coordination and communication between the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and its emergency support agencies-including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs-could help address fragmentation and ensure the effective provision of public health and medical services during a public health emergency.
- Better coordination between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard could reduce fragmentation and communicate lessons learned during disasters about the contracting process.
- By implementing a process to monitor orders and resolve outstanding reimbursements, the U.S. military could recover millions of dollars in overdue repayments for sales made to foreign partners.
So, what's new this year? Read our press release and listen to our podcast about this year’s report to find out more.
Previously Identified Actions that Could Save Billions
Fully implementing many of the remaining actions we’ve identified over the last decade in prior Duplication and Cost Savings reports could save tens of billions of additional dollars.
The Department of Energy could potentially save tens of billions of dollars by adopting alternative approaches to treating some of its low-activity radioactive waste.
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Medicare could save billions of dollars annually if Congress equalized the rates Medicare pays for certain health care services (payment rates currently vary by location).
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Unless the Department of Energy can demonstrate demand for new Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loans and viable applications, Congress may wish to consider rescinding all or part of the remaining credit subsidy appropriations—potentially saving more than $4 billion.
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The Department of the Interior could increase revenues by more than $1.7 billion over 10 years by better managing oil and gas resources.
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GAO’s Action Tracker is an interactive online tool that tracks the progress that Congress and federal agencies have made in reducing duplication, overlap, and fragmentation—and reducing costs and increasing revenue—that GAO identifies in its annual report. Fully addressing every action in this tool would result in tens of billions in savings for the federal government.
The federal government is spending a lot more money than it is collecting, and addressing this imbalance will require changes to both federal spending and revenue policies.
However, Congress and federal agencies could act now to address federal programs or activities that are fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative—which would save the government tens of billions of dollars.
The total savings associated with this work is a rough estimate based on a variety of sources. For more information on our methods for calculating these savings, please visit our report.
Definitions of Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication