Washington, D.C. —
“At a time when our debt is the greatest threat to our economic and national security, Congress should be doing everything in its power to set common sense priorities. Eliminating duplicative spending should be the easy part. This year’s report tells us more about what we already know. Congress is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars every year because it has created duplicative and fragmented programs, many of which are producing little or no value for taxpayers. Even worse, Congress has done almost nothing to address problem areas GAO has already identified. This report shows why Congress has a 9 percent approval rating. Instead of eliminating duplicative spending, Congress spent the last year finding new ways to borrow money,” said Dr. Coburn.
Key GAO findings and examples of duplication, mismanagement and waste
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. There are 209 federal STEM education programs, administered by 13 different federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion annually.
- Financial Literacy. There are 56 financial literacy programs across 20 federal agencies, according to a March 2011 survey of federal agencies. However, a subsequent analysis by GAO found that there were 15 financial literacy programs across 13 federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $30 million annually, if a narrower definition of financial literacy is used.
- Department of Justice Grants. Since 2005, Congress has spent $30 billion in overlapping Department of Justice grants for crime prevention police and victims services from more than 200 DOJ grant programs, and $3.9 billion in grants just in 2010.
- Housing Assistance. In 2010, the government spent roughly $170 billion on housing related programs, of which $132 billion was forgone revenue from tax expenditures related to housing.GAO found “twenty different entities that administer 160 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools, that support homeowners and renters.” GAO also found “39 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools provide assistance for buying, selling or financing a home,” and eight programs and tax expenditures provide assistance for rental property owners.”