Bill Granting GAO More Power Clears House

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., left, and the committee's ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., left, and the committee's ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A bill to strengthen the Government Accountability Office’s powers passed the House unanimously Monday evening.

The GAO Improvement Act (H.R. 1162), which would increase the comptroller general’s investigative and audit authorities, did not face any opposition from the lower chamber, passing 408-0.

The bill, which will now move to the Senate, would provide GAO with broader access to sensitive federal agency information, enable it to make copies of records and allow it to place witnesses under certain types of oaths for investigations.

Many provisions of the legislation were included in the DATA Act in the last congressional session, when it cleared the House but failed in the Senate. That bill, however, also included proposals to strip some guidance-writing power from the Office of Management and Budget and to increase government spending transparency.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., co-sponsored the current version of the bill.

“Congress is responsible for holding federal agencies accountable for the way they spend taxpayer dollars, and GAO is Congress’ investigative arm,” Cummings said in a statement when the bill was introduced.  “This legislation gives GAO investigators the tools they need to do their job in order to root out waste, fraud and abuse.”

Sen. Clare McCaskill, D-Mo., sponsored a similar bill in 2011, which cleared the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee but never made it to the full Senate. A spokesman for McCaskill said the senator will review the House-passed bill to “ensure it’s consistent with her priorities.”

The 2011 version received bipartisan support in committee and was supported by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the current Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.