H.R. 5690, GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2016

H.R. 5690

GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2016

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

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5690, GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5690 was introduced on July 8, 2016, by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported on July 12, 2016 by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5690  bill authorizes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to obtain federal agency records required to discharge the GAO’s duties (including audit, evaluation, and investigative duties), including through bringing civil actions to require an agency to produce a record. Particularly, H.R. 5690 clarifies GAO’s authority to access the National Directory of New Hires in order to better investigate potential sources of fraud and improper payments.


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes.

GAO work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is mandated by public laws or committee reports. GAO also undertakes research under the authority of the Comptroller General. GAO also supports congressional oversight by auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively; investigating allegations of illegal and improper activities; reporting on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives; performing policy analyses and outlining options for congressional consideration; and issuing legal decisions and opinions, such as bid protest rulings and reports on agency rules.[1]

[1] See GAO website, About GAO


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates enacting H.R. 5690 would have no significant effect on the federal budget.

Additional Information

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