CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, April 15, 2013, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1162, the GAO Improvement Act,under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 14, 2013 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, which held a mark-up and reported the bill by voice vote.
H.R. 1162 expands the authority of the GAO to obtain information from the Executive Branch. Specifically, the bill allows the Comptroller General to pursue civil action to obtain agency records; expands GAO’s ability to obtain sworn testimony; expands access to specific categories of records that have been denied to GAO previously; requires GAO to prescribe policies to protect proprietary or trade secret information from public disclosure; and requires agency heads to send GAO report responses to all oversight committees of jurisdiction.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a legislative branch agency that examines how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars and investigates waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs. However, due to a lack of certain specified authorities, the GAO has at times found it difficult to obtain the information needed to perform its mission. H.R. 1162 intends to increase the effectiveness of the GAO by removing restrictions to necessary information when performing audits and investigations for the legislative branch.
CBO estimates that H.R. 1162 would “have no significant impact on the federal budget.”