Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Unimplemented IG Recommendations Costing Taxpayers Billions of Dollars

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Rep. Ed Towns issued a new report that finds that the Bush Administration has failed to implement over 13,000 recommendations made by Inspectors General (IGs) since 2001. Federal agencies could save taxpayers over $25 billion by implementing these open recommendations.

“Under the Bush Administration, thousands of proposals to make government more efficient languished,” said Rep. Waxman. “The result has been billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse. Congress will work with the new Administration to restore accountability and increase the effectiveness of our government.”

“If someone told me that I was losing change from a hole in my pocket and instead of mending it I kept losing money, shame on me. But that’s what has happened over the past seven years to the tune of $25 billion, as thousands of inspectors general recommendations were ignored by our government,” said Sen. McCaskill. “It’s time to finally get out some needle and thread.”

“The Inspectors General have done the hard work of identifying waste and fraud, but agencies have not been fixing the problems,” said Rep. Towns. “Congress and the Obama Administration should keep the spotlight on wasteful programs until they are running efficiently.”

The House Oversight Committee asked the nation’s IGs to identify all recommendations made between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2008, that had not been implemented by federal agencies. The information provided shows that the Bush Administration failed to implement 13,847 recommendations since 2001, which could have saved taxpayers $25.9 billion. Almost half of these recommendations were made over a year ago, and more than a quarter were made over two years ago.

The five agencies that could save the most money by implementing open recommendations are the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition to costing taxpayers billions of dollars, the failure of federal agencies to implement IG recommendations poses serious risks to the American people. Thousands of unimplemented recommendations would improve national and homeland security, public health and safety, environmental protection, and Americans’ overall quality of life.