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Before the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, Committee on 
Appropriations, U.S. Senate: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

For Release on Delivery: 
Expected at 2:30 p.m. EDT:
Thursday, May 21, 2009: 

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request: 

U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

Statement of Gene L. Dodaro: 
Acting Comptroller General of the United States: 


[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Senator Murkowski, and Members of the 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to discuss the U.S. 
Government Accountability Office's (GAO) budget request for fiscal year 
2010. At the outset, I want to thank the subcommittee for its support 
of GAO. We appreciated your efforts in appropriating a fiscal year 2009 
amount that provides GAO with the resources to better allow us to 
assist the Congress in a timely way to address the many difficult 
challenges facing the nation. I also want to acknowledge the 
professionalism, talents, and dedication of our GAO workforce in 
supporting the Congress and improving government for the American 

In fiscal year 2008, GAO delivered advice and analyses to the Congress 
in response to requests from all of the standing committees of the 
House and the Senate, as well as over 80 percent of their 
subcommittees. The hard work of our staff yielded significant results 
across the government, including expert testimony at over 300 
congressional hearings, hundreds of improvements in government 
operations, and billions in financial benefits. 

I submit for your consideration a request for a fiscal year 2010 
appropriation of $567.5 million to support 3,250 full-time equivalent 
(FTE) staff. This request represents an increase of $36.5 million, or 
6.9 percent, over our fiscal year 2009 funding level, which would 
support a 3.5 percent increase over our 2009 FTE level. Importantly, 
almost 70 percent of our requested increase is needed for mandatory pay 
and uncontrollable cost increases. While our fiscal year 2009 funding 
level allows us to make progress in responding to new congressional 
requests sooner, our fiscal year 2010 request would enable GAO to make 
greater progress in addressing the issues of greatest interest to the 
Congress and the American public during these challenging times, which 
is our highest priority. I am also requesting authority to use $15.2 
million in offsetting collections, as detailed in our budget 

GAO Delivers Results on an Increasing Range of Federal Programs: 

The Congress continues to rely on GAO's nonpartisan, objective analysis 
and recommendations and has given us new responsibilities and 
opportunities to play key roles in addressing a number of emerging 
issues. We are addressing challenges in the financial markets and 
broader economy through our work overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief 
Program (TARP), created in 2008. We continue to monitor and report, 
every 60 days, on the status of the implementation of TARP, and we plan 
to conduct an annual financial audit of the $700 billion authorized for 
the program. 

Additionally, GAO is carrying out a range of responsibilities 
overseeing spending related to the 2009 American Recovery and 
Reinvestment Act (ARRA)--including bimonthly reviews of how selected 
states and localities across the country are using the billions of 
dollars of funds provided to them--and providing targeted studies in 
several areas, such as small business lending, education, and expanded 
trade adjustment assistance. 

Over the next several years, our work will encompass critical areas, 

* reviewing progress in implementing key activities for the 2010 

* helping to support the Congress's consideration of changes in the 
regulatory structure for financial markets and institutions, including 
the establishment and implementation of controls to help avoid a future 
financial crisis of the magnitude the nation faces today; 

* reviewing the revised governance structure for the housing market and 
providing targeted analyses to inform decision makers working to 
restore the functioning of the mortgage market and resolve the ultimate 
disposition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; 

* supporting health care reform efforts and control of health care 
costs through analysis of expenditures and payment structures in 
Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and 
other health programs; 

* reviewing the impact of drawing down our resources in Iraq, providing 
more resources in Afghanistan, and retooling our operations in 

* providing balanced and objective assessments of the use of emerging 
technologies in the context of federal programs and public policy 
issues, such as green energy, energy efficiency, health information 
technology, homeland security technologies, climate change, science and 
math education programs, as well as the technical challenges of 
developing sophisticated space and defense systems; 

* reviewing initiatives to enhance protection of cyber assets; 

* assessing contractor management, sourcing strategies, and contracting 
reforms; and: 

* helping the Congress tackle both new and continuing high-risk areas, 
such as protecting public health through enhanced oversight over 
medical products, food safety, and toxic chemicals. 

Finally, as part of fulfilling our commitments under the Presidential 
Transition Act, as amended, GAO is serving as a key resource for the 
Congress and the administration on major challenges needing the 
attention of the 28 largest departments and agencies across government, 
as well as 13 other issues facing our nation that require urgent 
attention and continuing oversight. In addition to those already 
mentioned, these include: 

* preparing for public health emergencies, 

* improving the U.S. image abroad, 

* protecting the homeland, 

* caring for service members, and: 

* defense spending and readiness. 

Our work receives great interest not only from the Congress but from 
the American people. For example, while our reports routinely receive 
media and public interest, in the first half of fiscal year 2009, 12 
GAO reports were downloaded over 10,000 times each from our external 
Web site, [hyperlink,]. These reports covered an 
array of important issues, including: 

* veterans' health care and the challenges of recruiting and retaining 
inpatient nurses, 

* Medicaid outpatient drug reimbursements and comparisons with retail 
pharmacy acquisition costs, 

* private equity and the risk of leveraged buyouts, 

* the outdated financial regulatory system and the need for a 
modernized framework, and: 

* defense logistics and the need for better analyses and cost data to 
support performance-based decisions. 

In addition to our work in response to congressional requests, GAO also 
issues products that provide agencies with guidance and best practices, 
or that otherwise support greater accountability and oversight in 
government. In the first half of fiscal year 2009, 13 of these products 
were downloaded over 10,000 times each from our external Web site. The 
top five picks were (1) special publications on the principles of 
appropriations law, (2) the 2009 high-risk update, (3) updated guidance 
on government auditing standards, (4) the GAO cost estimating and 
assessment guide, and (5) highlights of our May 2007 health care forum 
focusing on steps needed to meet future challenges. 

I am pleased by the recognition GAO receives from ordinary Americans 
and civil servants alike as a continuing source of reliable, unbiased 
information about how government operations can be improved. 

High Congressional Demand for GAO Services: 

GAO is an invaluable resource for helping the Congress provide 
oversight, accountability, and transparency in government. The demand 
for GAO services continues to remain high as a direct result of the 
high quality of our work, and this high demand is an indication of the 
Congress's desire for timely and objective analyses and professional 
advice. In each of fiscal years 2007 and 2008, GAO received over 1,200 
requests and mandates. The number of congressional mandates, our 
highest-priority work, more than doubled from fiscal year 2007 to 2008. 
In addition, as evidenced above, our work covers more and more complex 
issues across a broad range of federal programs, requiring more in- 
depth analysis to complete. 

This congressional demand for GAO studies also has affected our ability 
to respond promptly to congressional requests. For instance, in fiscal 
year 2008, GAO delayed starting work on 21 percent of our accepted 
requests due to staff unavailability. The average time we took to 
initiate congressionally requested engagements was almost 5 months in 
the first half of 2009, compared with less than 3 months in fiscal year 

In addition, GAO is providing testimony at an increased number of 
congressional hearings. We testified at 304 hearings in fiscal year 
2008. This was the second highest number for GAO in the last 25 years. 

We expect to continue receiving a high volume of requests related to 
either the nation's new challenges, such as the recent developments in 
the financial markets and economy, or to the many emerging initiatives 
of the Congress and the administration. Moreover, all Senate committees 
are required to review programs within their jurisdiction to root out 
fraud, waste, and abuse in program spending--giving particular scrutiny 
to issues raised in GAO reports--and develop recommendations for 
improved government performance. Also, recent changes to House rules 
require each standing committee or subcommittee to hold at least one 
hearing on any issue raised by GAO that indicates that federal programs 
or operations authorized by that committee or subcommittee are at high 
risk for fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement. 

Our January 2009 issuance of the biennial, High-Risk Series: An Update, 
which identifies federal areas and programs at risk of fraud, waste, 
abuse, and mismanagement, as well as those in need of broad-based 
transformations, identified 30 at-risk federal programs. Issued to 
coincide with the start of each new Congress, our high-risk updates 
have continued to help to focus and sustain attention to these programs 
so that executive branch officials who are accountable for each 
program's performance, as well as members of the Congress, have the 
information needed to complete their oversight responsibilities. The 
high-risk update report is available on our Web site at [hyperlink,]. 

GAO's Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request: 

With the increased capacity included in our fiscal year 2010 
appropriation request, we can continue to assist the Congress with 
oversight over a broad range of federal programs. As a knowledge-based 
organization, about 80 percent of GAO's budget funds staff compensation 
and benefits, with much of the balance of our budget funding mandatory 
operating expenses, such as security services and other critical 
infrastructure services necessary to support our ongoing operations. 
For this reason, a significant portion of our requested funding 
increase is not discretionary. 

Our requested increase for fiscal year 2010 of $36.5 million seeks 
funds to cover: 

* mandatory pay increases resulting primarily from annual across-the- 
board and performance-based increases, as well as pay raises required 
by the GAO Act, including the annualization of prior fiscal year 
compensation costs; 

* uncontrollable inflationary increases imposed by vendors as part of 
the cost of doing business; 

* nonrecurring fiscal year 2009 costs resulting from program 
improvements, which can offset about one-third of our mandatory and 
inflationary changes; 

* strengthening our staff capacity to provide timely support to the 
Congress in confronting the broad array of critical challenges facing 
the nation, including: 

* helping to support the Congress's consideration of changes in the 
regulatory structure of financial markets and institutions, 

* providing targeted analyses to inform decision makers working to 
restore the functioning of the mortgage market, 

* supporting health care reform efforts and the control of health care 
costs, and: 

* providing assessments of technologies in the context of federal 
programs and public policy issues, and: 

* program changes supporting critical investments to (1) provide 
employee development and benefits, (2) implement technological 
improvements, and (3) strengthen our infrastructure. 

Table 1: Fiscal Year 2010 Summary of Requested Changes (Dollars in 

Budget category: FY 2008 actual; 
FTEs: 3,081; 
Amount: $498,548. 

Budget category: FY 2009 revised estimate; 
FTEs: 3,141; 
Amount: $531,000. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Mandatory pay; 
Amount: $19,475; 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 3.7%. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Inflationary cost 
Amount: $5,714; 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 4.7%. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Nonrecurring FY 2009 costs; 
Amount: ($8,338); 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 3.2%. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Staff capacity; 
FTEs: 109; 
Amount: $16,826; 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.3%. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Program changes; 
Amount: $10,407; 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 8.3%. 

Budget category: FY 2010 requested changes: Increase in offsetting 
Amount: ($7,587); 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.9%. 

Budget category: Subtotal-requested changes; 
FTEs: 109; 
Amount: $36,497. 

Budget category: Appropriation; 
FTEs: 3,250; 
Amount: $567,497; 
Cumulative percentage of change FY 2009 to FY 2010: 6.9%. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

Concluding Remarks: 

I believe that you will find our budget request well-justified as it 
will ensure that GAO has the necessary staff and resources to 
strengthen our capacity to provide timely assistance to the Congress to 
confront the difficult challenges facing the nation and help improve 
government for the American people. 

With your support of our 2010 budget request, we will continue 
rewarding the confidence you place in us by maintaining a strong return 
on this appropriation investment as we help to improve services to the 
public, change laws, and improve government operations. 

We are grateful for the Congress's continued support of our efforts to 
help improve government performance, accountability, and transparency. 
GAO remains committed to providing accurate, objective, nonpartisan, 
and constructive information to the Congress to help conduct effective 
oversight and fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. 

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Senator Murkowski, this concludes my 
prepared statement. I would be pleased to respond to any questions that 
you or other Members of the subcommittee might have. 

[End of section] 

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