Opportunities for Congressional Oversight and Improved Use of Taxpayer Funds:

Budgetary Implications of Selected GAO Work

GAO-04-649: Published: May 7, 2004. Publicly Released: May 7, 2004.

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This report contains in a single document the budgetary implications of selected program reforms discussed in past GAO work but not yet implemented or enacted. Since 1994, we have prepared annual reports similar to this product, in order to continue to assist congressional committees in identifying approaches to reduce federal spending or increase revenues. This year's report contains over 100 examples of budget options organized by budget function. Where possible, budgetary savings estimates provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) are presented.

In this report, we highlight opportunities for, and specific examples of, legislative and administrative change that might yield budgetary savings. These budget options are based on past GAO work. While this report is not intended to represent a complete summary of all possible options, it does provide specific examples that demonstrate the programmatic and fiscal oversight needed as our nation's priorities are reassessed in light of short and long-term challenges. As consistent with our prior budgetary implications reports, we have organized the options presented in this report as falling in one of the following three areas: (1) reassess objectives--options for reconsidering whether to terminate or revise services and programs because goals have been achieved, have been persistently not met, or are no longer relevant due to changing conditions; (2) redefine beneficiaries--options for revising formulas or eligibility rules or improving the targeting of benefits or fees; and (3) improve efficiency--options to address program execution problems through consolidation, reorganization, improving collections methods, or attacking high-risk activities. The specific options described in each example are not intended to suggest the only way to address some of the significant problems identified in our reviews of federal programs and activities. Each example presents only one of many possible options available to the Congress, and including a specific option in this report does not mean that we endorse it or that the chosen option is the only or the most feasible approach.

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