Rep. Carter’s Government Transparency Bill Passes Senate

Rep. Buddy Carter’s GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017 (H.R.72) passed unanimously yesterday in the U.S. Senate. A press release from Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue states the Act “would provide the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with enhanced tools to oversee federal programs and ensure it is able to obtain the records needed to audit, evaluate and investigate federal agencies. In particular, this bill would ensure GAO has full access to the National Directory of New Hires, a database essential for properly auditing many of the government’s largest programs.”

The press release also stated some specifics that the Act would provide:

  • Clarify that GAO’s blanket authority to access federal records under 31 U.S.C. 716, including access to the National Directory of New Hires;
  • Strengthen GAO’s ability to bring a civil action in court by ensuring GAO has standing in the event an agency refuses to disclose information GAO requires to fulfill its oversight and investigation duties;
  • Require GAO to keep congressional committees of jurisdiction apprised of any recommendations related to agencies they oversee.

You can see statements from Rep. Carter and Sens. Isakson and Perdue after the break.

Sen. Isakson:

“I’m pleased that the Senate has advanced this important step in promoting government transparency. It is essential that the Government Accountability Office is able to do its job without obstruction from federal agencies. I will continue to work with my colleagues to conduct much-needed oversight of federal programs and root out waste, fraud and abuse.”

Sen. Perdue:

“It is no secret that Washington bureaucrats have a reputation for putting their self-interests ahead of our national interests. Too often, audits of federal agencies and requests for information are stonewalled to protect the power of unelected bureaucrats or advance a political agenda. This is unacceptable. Our government watchdog will now have more tools at its disposal to increase transparency and hold bureaucrats accountable.”

Rep. Carter:

“Passage of this bill today in the Senate is a huge win in the fight to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure the federal government is transparent and accountable. GAO is one of the most important tools used in this fight and my legislation ensures federal agencies cooperate with GAO so they are able to access what is necessary to conduct their investigations. I encourage the President to sign this critical legislation into law as soon as possible.”


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