WASHINGTON - Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Modernization Chair Stephanie Bice (OK-05) delivers opening remarks at today's Subcommittee on Modernization hearing entitled, "Legislative Branch Advancement: GAO Modernization."

Chair Bice's Opening Remarks:

"The mission of this Subcommittee, building upon the work of the Select Committee, is to continue to examine ways to strengthen Congress to make it a more effective, efficient, and transparent institution for the American people.

Today, we will hear from – and about – the Government Accountability Office, one of the congressional support agencies that is truly a “force multiplier.” 

It provides essential nonpartisan, fact-based analysis, and expertise across a wide range of issues to support Congress in our legislative and oversight duties on behalf of the American people. And it gets results.

I understand there’s an inside joke among friends and supporters of GAO that a common theme is said to run through GAO’s work, “Progress made, challenges remain.”

While that may get a laugh among the GAO “insiders,” it undersells the true value of GAO. But it can serve to underscore one of the principal themes I’d like us to cover today, which is, what can we do to strengthen the agency for the future and provide the additional tools it needs to support Congress and fix those “challenges that remain”?

With that said, I’d like to welcome Gene Dodaro, U.S. Comptroller General of the GAO.

The Committee welcomes your remarks on the future of the GAO, the agency’s strengths, and the best practices you see working well at the GAO that should be replicated by other support agencies.

Our second panel includes two former GAO employees, and a former Senate oversight staffer who was an important customer of GAO, all of whom continue to be advocates for the agency and can share an outside perspective on what modernization efforts have been successful and how the agency can expand on its prior success.

GAO conducts oversight of our federal agencies and programs, identifies waste, fraud, and abuse, and analyzes the efficacy and efficiency of government programs.

GAO reports typically issue recommendations to federal agencies, or highlight matters for Congressional consideration, all of which can remedy identified issues, improve program outcomes, and reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication across the federal government.

Their work has resulted in saving roughly $1.31 trillion taxpayer dollars since 2002.

Indeed, for every $1 appropriated to GAO between 2018 and 2023, GAO has had a $145 return on investment.

I think we can all agree that a government agency saving taxpayer dollars should be recognized for their outstanding work.

In the previous Congress, the Select Committee on Modernization made several GAO-related recommendations focused on strengthening and improving GAO’s service to Congress.

Two of these recommendations were included in the Improving Government for America’s Taxpayer’s Act, introduced by my colleague, Ranking Member Kilmer.

That bill was enacted as part of the FY 2023 NDAA and directed GAO to submit to Congress a targeted report on the costs of unimplemented priority recommendations as well as additional policy or oversight options for Congress to consider.

We are eager to hear how GAO has responded to those requirements, which were designed to help Congress better understand and more easily address outstanding GAO recommendations that could provide real savings for American taxpayers.

Over time, the GAO has implemented several modernization initiatives on its own and represents a prime example of an agency that has evolved proactively to meet the needs of its primary customer, Congress.

For example, in 2019, the GAO expanded its capacity for science and technology support through a new team: the Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics.

The STAA team has developed new products and services that have provided Congress access to scientific and technological expertise.

I look forward to hearing about STAA’s modernization efforts and how the team can be strengthened to best support science and technology policymaking in Congress.

Finally, we will discuss the future of GAO and its vision.

For three consecutive years, GAO was rated the best midsize agency to work for in the federal government.

This notable achievement leads to high employee motivation and most importantly to results for Congress and the American people.

I look forward to hearing from our panelists about the path ahead – the new and innovative ways in which GAO can support Congress, help identify savings and greater efficiencies, and increase accountability of our government agencies."