H.R. 5687, GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2016

H.R. 5687

GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2016

Sponsor
Rep. Jody Hice

Date
September 20, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5687, the GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5687 was introduced on July 8, 2016, by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) and was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition, to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Homeland Security.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5687 eliminates and modifies reporting requirements for eight statutorily mandated for the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Specifically, the bill modifies and eliminates reporting requirements for the following mandates studies:

Single Audit Act Monitoring Responsibilities: The bill will eliminate GA’s requirement to monitor all bills being reported by House and Senate committees for provisions requiring financial audits of non-federal entities received federal awards.

Review of MediGap Premium Levels: The bill will eliminate the mandate requiring GAO to study an early 2000s change in Medicare co-insurance for certain outpatient hospital services that the GAO found methodologically difficult if not impossible to study (because they could not isolate the effect they were asked to examine).

Dispute Resolution Pilot Program: The bill will eliminate the mandate directing GAO to study a post-Hurricane Sandy FEMA pilot program that has never had any cases and therefore there is nothing to study.

Information Sharing Satisfaction: The bill repeals GAO’s mandate to report on the satisfaction of recipients of transportation intelligence reports. They’ve done multiple reports and have thoroughly covered this issue. According to the bill sponsor, Any remaining issues can be dealt with via the recommendation follow-up practice between GAO and TSA.”

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Review: Most TARP programs have either ended or are winding down. GAO has been reported 56 times on TARP and has covered all aspects of the program. According to the bill sponsor, anything remaining can be handled by the Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). H.R. 5687 would change GAO’s mandate from every 60 days to an annual basis.

Conflict Minerals: Dodd-Frank required GAO to study whether SEC rules meant to prohibit the trade of conflict minerals originating from the Congo region were effective. GAO has addressed this in several reports and feels it can no longer provide additional useful information. H.R. 5687 would require 3 more reports in 2020, 2022 and 2024 instead of annually.

Medicare ESRB Bundled Payment System: GAO was required to study the inclusion of oral end-stage renal disease (ESRD) drugs in Medicare’s bundled payments. The program has been delayed from 2015 to 2023, so H.R. 5687 pushes back the GAO report date to 2023.

Alternatives to Medical Tort Litigation – Review Panel: A provision in the Affordable Care Act required GAO to get involved in the awarding of grants to states to develop alternatives to medical tort litigation. This section was never funded or implemented and GAO strongly feels that it violates its independence. H.R. 5687 would follow GAO’s recommendation to change the provision to preserve its independence.

Background

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified eight mandated reviews that are either outdated or unnecessary. By eliminating and modifying these reports, this legislation will ensure GAO will be able to be more effective and efficient by focusing on areas of the highest priorities for Congress. The changes to these eight reports have been agreed upon by all the appropriate committees of jurisdiction on a bipartisan, bicameral basis.

GAO identified eight mandated reviews that are either outdated or unnecessary. According to the bill sponsor, by eliminating and modifying these reports, this legislation will ensure GAO will be able to be more effective and efficient by focusing on areas of the highest priorities for Congress. The changes to these eight reports have been agreed upon by all the appropriate committees of jurisdiction on a bipartisan, bicameral basis.

According to the bill sponsor, “Good governance requires responsible spending. In Fiscal Year 2015 alone, the work of GAO netted a return on investment of $134 for every $1 spent by the agency. That is the type of work our Nation needs, identifying inefficiencies and restoring fiscal responsibility through conducting oversight and safeguarding taxpayer dollars.”[1]

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[1] See Rep. Jody Hice Press Release, “Hice GAO Reform Legislation Advances Committee,” July 13, 2016.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the legislation would reduce discretionary costs by about $1 million over the 2017-2021 period; such reductions would be subject to future appropriations actions consistent with the provisions of this bill. GAO has an annual budget of more than $500 million and prepares hundreds of products for the Congress each year.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.