Senators’ Bill would Strengthen Congressional Oversight and the Public’s Ability to Evaluate How Federal Agencies are Tackling Problems Identified by Inspectors General 

In 2017, Inspectors General at Federal Agencies Found over $20 Billion in Potential Taxpayer Savings 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Heidi Heitkamp today announced that their bipartisan bill to help ensure that federal agencies are acting on recommendations made by inspectors general (IGs) that save taxpayers money and make government more efficient passed out of the U.S. Senate.

Ernst and Heitkamp’s legislation would require all open recommendations from IGs at federal agencies that have remained unimplemented for more than a year to be posted to a single, searchable website. Congress and the public could then better monitor the problems that have been identified at the federal agencies where IGs conduct audits to combat waste, fraud, and abuse— and identify whether adequate steps have been taken to resolve those problems. 

Our Inspectors General provide critical oversight of our federal agencies, and the government should be held accountable for enacting their recommendations to safeguard against fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Ernst. “I am thrilled to see Senator Heitkamp’s and my bipartisan legislation pass the Senate to make recommendations made by the Inspectors General more accessible and transparent for all Americans.”

“Good government in a democracy means being open, transparent, and accountable to the public— and each year, inspectors general work hard to review federal programs and report on ways to cut unnecessary spending, improve security, and maintain ethical standards. While inspectors general find billions in potential taxpayer savings each year, the general public may have  a tough time tracking down whether an agency has made a good-faith effort to resolve issues identified by inspectors general,” said Heitkamp. “Our bipartisan bill passing in the Senate marks an important step in holding agencies accountable and pressuring them to address fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal government.”

Ernst and Heitkamp introduced this legislation in November following the October launch of Oversight.gov— a federal website that hosts thousands of IG reports.

The legislation was also cosponsored by U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

IGs serve as federal watchdogs within government agencies that investigate and provide recommendations on how agencies can improve operations and address fraud, waste, and abuse.  IGs cover a wide variety of issues ranging from cybersecurity issues and grant administration to federal hiring practices and human management practices. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, the IGs identified in their recommendations over $20 billion in potential taxpayer savings.