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Financial Management: Extending the Financial Statements Audit Requirement of the CFO Act to Additional Federal Agencies

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Congress is considering expanding the number of federal agencies required to prepare audited financial statements to include all executive branch agencies that have budget authority of $25 million or more. The Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 builds on the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act by encouraging agencies to have systems that generate timely, accurate, and useful information with which to make informed decisions on an ongoing basis. The 26 non-CFO Act agencies that GAO surveyed reported that they anticipate significant benefits from audited financial statements."
Date: May 14, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Social Security: Issues in Evaluating Reform Proposals

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the long-term viability of the Social Security program. Social Security's Trust Funds will not be exhausted until 2038, but the trustees now project that the program's cash demands on the rest of the federal government will begin much sooner. Aiming for sustainable solvency would increase the chance that future policymakers would not have to face these difficult questions on a recurring basis. GAO has developed the following criteria for evaluating Social Security reform proposals: financing sustainable solvency, balancing adequacy and equity, and implementing and administering reforms. These criteria seek to balance financial and economic considerations with benefit adequacy and equity issues and the administrative challenges associated with various proposals. GAO's recent report on Social Security and income adequacy (GAO-02-62) makes three key points. First, no single measure of adequacy provides a complete picture; each measure reflects a different outlook on what adequacy means. Second, given the projected long-term financial shortfall of the program, it is important to compare proposals to both benefits at currently promised levels and benefits funded at current tax levels. Third, various approaches to benefit reductions would have differing effects on adequacy."
Date: December 10, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Fish and Wildlife Service: Management and Oversight of the Federal Aid Program Needs Attention

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management and oversight of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Restoration Program, focusing on: (1) how administrative funds are used and monitored; and (2) whether there is adequate oversight of the funds provided to the states."
Date: July 20, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Medicare Subvention Demonstration: DOD Experience and Lessons for Possible VA Demonstration

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Medicare subvention demonstration program, focusing on: (1) the early phases of implementing the DOD demonstration; (2) issues raised by that experience for DOD subvention; and (3) lessons from the DOD demonstration for a possible Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) demonstration."
Date: May 4, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Social Security Administration: Systems Support Could Improve Processing Attorney Fee Payments in the Disability Program

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To ensure that people claiming disability insurance program benefits can obtain legal representation at a fair price, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to regulate the fees that attorneys charge people to represent their disability claims before the agency. Balancing the needs of the claimants with those of their attorneys, the law limits the amount of fees that attorneys can charge claimants, but also guarantees that those fees will be paid from the claimants' past-due benefits. Inefficiencies in the current process increase both the time it takes to pay the attorney fees and the cost of administration. One segment of attorney fee processing--the fee approval process--was substantially simplified in 1991. Systems support could streamline the second segment of the processing--the fee payment--thus lowering the annual administrative costs and cutting processing time. Automation of this final segment of the fee process could help improve customer service for both claimants and their attorneys."
Date: May 17, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Federal Land Management: Comments on Selected Provisions of S. 1320--A Bill to Revise Federal Land Management Planning

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the planning-related provisions of titles I and II of S. 1320--the Public Lands Planning and Management Improvement Act of 1999, focusing on the: (1) statutory basis for the Forest Service's mission priorities; (2) clarity of the mission statement in S. 1320; and (3) extent to which the bill addresses identified planning deficiencies."
Date: July 22, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Performance Budgeting: Initial Agency Experiences Provide a Foundation to Assess Future Directions

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed performance budgeting in the federal government, focusing on the: (1) postponement of the performance budgeting pilots that are required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA); and (2) challenges that confront these pilots and any effort to more closely relate performance expectations and spending estimates."
Date: July 1, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

DOD Financial Management: Integrated Approach, Accountability, Transparency, and Incentives Are Keys to Effective Reform

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD) are complex, long-standing, and deeply rooted throughout its business operations. DOD's financial management deficiencies represent the single largest obstacle to achieving an unqualified opinion on the U.S. government's consolidated financial statements. So far, none of the military services or major DOD components have passed the test of an independent financial audit because of pervasive weaknesses in financial management systems, operations, and controls. These problems go back decades, and earlier attempts at reform have been unsuccessful. DOD continues to rely on a far-flung, complex network of finance, logistics, personnel, acquisition, and other management information systems for financial data to support day-to-day management and decision-making. This network has evolved into an overly complex and error-prone operation with (1) little standardization across DOD components, (2) multiple systems performing the same tasks, (3) the same data stored in multiple systems, (4) manual data entry into multiple systems, and (5) a large number of data translations and interfaces, which combine to exacerbate problems with data integrity. Many of the elements that are crucial to financial management reform and business process transformation--particularly those that rely on long-term systems improvements--will take years to fully implement."
Date: March 6, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Health Care Fraud: Schemes to Defraud Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Health Care Insurers

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the various schemes used to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs and private insurance companies and how the proposed legislation contained in H.R. 3461 and S.1231 could strenghten federal and state health care programs."
Date: July 25, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Forest Service: Financial Accountability

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed its ongoing monitoring of the Forest Service's efforts to improve its financial accountability, focusing on: (1) the historical pattern of the Forest Service's financial management weaknesses; (2) the fundamental problems which the Forest Service must resolve in order to achieve financial accountability; (3) GAO's criteria for placing Forest Service financial management on its high-risk list and what must take place for the agency to be removed from the list; and (4) highlighting corrective measures the agency has under way."
Date: March 11, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Payroll Taxes: Billions in Delinquent Taxes and Penalties Due But Unlikely to Be Collected

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO discussed the results of its work on payroll taxes owed to the federal government and the associated trust fund recovery penalties (TFRP) assessed against individuals responsible for the nonpayment of these taxes."
Date: August 2, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Bureau of Land Management: Improper Charges Made to Mining Law Administration Program

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Accurate cost information is crucial for proper program management. Such information is especially important for the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Mining Law Administration Program (MLAP) because this program partially funded through mining fees that Congress has earmarked only for mining law administration operations. Some labor costs and several contracts and services were improperly charged to MLAP, causing other subactivities to benefit from funds intended for MLAP operations. Therefore, fewer funds have been available for actual MLAP operations. Although BLM has tried to make correcting adjustments for some of these improper charges, it has not established specific guidance or procedures to prevent improper charging of MLAP funds from recurring. Until additional procedures for MLAP are developed and effectively implemented, Congress and program managers can only place limited reliance on the accuracy of MLAP cost information."
Date: March 29, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

DOD Financial Management: More Reliable Information Key to Assuring Accountability and Managing Defense Operations More Efficiently

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the steps needed to improve financial management at the Department of Defense (DOD), focusing on: (1) the impact of financial management weaknesses on DOD's ability to efficiently and economically carry out its operations; (2) efforts DOD has initiated, and additional actions that are necessary, to improve financial management systems and controls in the short term; and (3) enhancements needed in updating DOD's Biennial Financial Management Improvement Plan--its long-term blueprint for financial management reform."
Date: April 14, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: State and USAID Need to Strengthen Business Continuity Planning

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Department of State and the Agency for International Development's (AID) efforts: (1) to increase worldwide awareness of the year 2000 problem, assess international preparedness, and inform American citizens of risks; (2) to report progress in remediating their internal computer systems; and (3) to prepare business continuity and contingency plans to ensure that they can continue to provide critical services."
Date: October 21, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Leadership and Partnerships Result in Limited Rollover Disruptions

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the change of century rollover, focusing on: (1) the reporting structure established by the government to obtain information on year 2000-related failures during the rollover period; (2) examples of year 2000 errors and their resolution; and (3) lessons from the year 2000 effort that can be carried forward to improve the management of information technology activities."
Date: January 27, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Combating Terrorism: Issues in Managing Counterterrorist Programs

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed federal efforts to combat terrorism, focusing on the: (1) need to link threats to strategies and resources in federal efforts to combat terrorism; (2) need to improve federal and state intergovernmental coordination and program issues; and (3) findings of a report from the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction--better known as the Gilmore Panel."
Date: April 6, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Department of Energy: Need to Address Longstanding Management Weaknesses

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed proposals for reorganizing the Department of Energy (DOE), focusing on: (1) longstanding weaknesses in DOE's management that GAO has identified over the past several years; (2) the effect that the proposals to deal with national security weaknesses would have on addressing these weaknesses; and (3) a framework for evaluating DOE's missions and possible reorganization."
Date: July 13, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Financial Management: Effective Implementation of FFMIA Is Key to Providing Reliable, Useful, and Timely Data

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) of 1996 ensures that agency financial management systems routinely provide reliable and timely financial information on the investment of resources, reduced costs and programs oversight. Although many agencies are receiving unqualified opinions on their financial statements, auditor determinations of FFMIA compliance are lagging. To achieve the financial management improvements envisioned by the Chief Financial Officers Act, FFMIA, and more recently, the President's Management Agenda, agencies need to modernize their financial systems to generate reliable, useful, and timely financial information throughout the year and at year-end."
Date: June 6, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Space Transportation: Critical Areas NASA Needs to Address in Managing Its Reusable Launch Vehicle Program

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "This testimony discusses the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) X-33 and X-34 reusable launch vehicle programs. The two programs experienced difficulties achieving their goals primarily because NASA did not develop realistic cost estimates, timely acquisition and risk management plans, and adequate and realistic performance goals. In particular, neither program fully (1) assessed the costs associated with developing new, unproven technologies, (2) provided for the financial reserves needed to deal with technical risks and accommodate normal development delays, (3) developed plans to quantify and mitigate the risks to NASA, or (4) established performance targets showing a clear path leading to an operational reusable launch vehicle. As a result, both programs were terminated. Currently, NASA is in the process of taking steps in the Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program to help avoid problems like those encountered in the X-33 and X-34 programs."
Date: June 20, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Protecting The Public's Interest: Considerations for Addressing Selected Regulatory Oversight, Auditing, Corporate Governance, and Financial Reporting Issues

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In the wake of the Enron collapse and the proliferation of earnings restatements and pro forma earnings assertions by other companies, questions are being raised about the soundness of private sector financial reporting, auditor independence, and corporate governance. In addressing these issues, the government's role could range from direct intervention to encouraging non-governmental and private-sector entities to adopt practices that would strengthen public confidence. GAO believes that Congress should consider a holistic approach that takes into account the many players and interrelated issues that brought about the Enron situation."
Date: April 9, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Office of Management and Budget: Future Challenges to Management

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management challenges facing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), focusing on the broader challenges facing the nation and the federal government now and in the future and their implications for central leadership approaches in general, and OMB in particular."
Date: April 7, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Human Capital: Strategic Approach Should Guide DOD Civilian Workforce Management

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed civilian personnel downsizing in the Department of Defense (DOD) and a framework that could be useful for approaching its human capital management challenges in the future."
Date: March 9, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.

Telecommunications: Data Gathering Weaknesses In FCC's Survey Of Information on Factors Underlying Cable Rate Changes

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Over 65 percent of American households currently subscribe to cable television service. There has been increasing concern that cable television rates have been rising aster than the rate of inflation for the last few years. As required, on a yearly basis, FCC prepares a report on cable rates in areas that face and those that do not face effective competition--a term defined by statute. For information used in this report, FCC maintains information on the competitive status of cable franchises and annually surveys a sample of cable franchises. GAO examined (1) the reliability of information that cable companies provided to FCC in its annual survey regarding cost factors underlying cable rate increases and (2) FCC's process for updating and revising cable franchise classifications as to whether they face effective competition."
Date: May 6, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.