Comments on the Government Waste Corrections Act of 1999

Gao ID: NSIAD-99-192R June 15, 1999

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the proposed legislation entitled the Government Waste Correction Act of 1999.

GAO noted that: (1) the act would be a positive step in the government's efforts to reduce overpayments and to obtain timely recovery of overpayments when they occur; (2) the act also addresses recommendations GAO had made in its recent report on the Department of Defense's (DOD) demonstration program; (3) this includes giving the head of an executive agency the option to perform recovery auditing with internal staff, by contract or through a combination of both internal staff and contract; (4) it is very important that heads of agencies perform a sound evaluation of the applicability of recovery auditing to their operations and the cost benefits of undertaking moderate internal recovery auditing before asking an external group to do such auditing; (5) it is also important that those performing recovery auditing periodically report on the factors causing overpayments and the steps that can be taken to reduce such overpayments; (6) one of GAO's criticisms of DOD's demonstration program was that DOD did not implement the contractor's recommendations to reduce overpayments; (7) GAO is pleased to see that the act requires the contractor to provide periodic reports with recommendations on how to mitigate overpayment problems and that as a part of the agency's management improvement program, the agency is to give first priority to addressing problems that contribute to overpayments; (8) to encourage agencies to participate in recovery auditing, it is useful to provide means through which the agencies incurring expenses to support audit recovery can recover their costs; and (9) a positive feature of the proposed act is to allow applicable appropriations to be reimbursed for costs incurred by government activities in supporting recovery audit efforts.

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