December 21, 2018

Warren, Young Government Accountability Bill Passes Both Chambers of Congress

Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) today announced that their bipartisan legislation to increase oversight of federal agencies has passed the House by a 382-2 vote and now heads to the President’s desk to await his signature. The Good Accounting Obligation in Government (GAO-IG) Act requires federal agencies to report on open and unimplemented recommendations from the Office of Inspector General (IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The House and Senate have now both approved a set of new, bipartisan tools to identify and fix problems all over the federal government, so it can work better for all Americans.  I was proud to work with Senator Young to get this done,” said Senator Warren.  


“Implementing these important recommendations will save taxpayer dollars, improve government efficiency, help Congress make decisions, and drastically improve government programs. I’m hopeful that the President will quickly sign this bill into law for the benefit of Hoosiers and all Americans,” said Senator Young.


Inspectors General and the GAO issue thousands of reports and audits every year that make recommendations to agencies about how they can improve programs and save money. The GAO-IG Act would require agencies to report on the status of recommendations as part of their annual budget justification. Currently GAO has over 8,000 open federal agency recommendations, and has neglected to act on these recommendations. To ensure that recommendations are implemented, GAO and IG would have to provide a timeline for implementation of outstanding recommendations or provide justification for not implementing the recommendations.


Examples of recommendations that currently remain open or unimplemented:

  • In 2013, GAO published recommendations to improve wait times at the VA, so that veterans can have timely access to medical care.
  • In 2015, GAO found that the Department of Justice could do more to measure progress addressing overcrowding in prisons and recidivism rates.
  • In 2014, GAO found significant oversight gaps in training for Department of State and USAID personnel that jeopardized their safety as well as others.
  • In 2018, GAO found areas to improve lead grant programs and compliance monitoring processes under the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Failure to act on these recommendations could negatively impact the lives of all Americans, and the GAO-IG Act makes certain that Congress and taxpayers are armed with the information needed to hold federal agencies accountable.


The GAO-IG Act passed the Senate on December 6, 2018.  An earlier version of the bill passed the House on July 16, 2018.