Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time to Grow the GAO?

Congressional Democrats eager to pursue oversight investigations would like to increase funding for the General Accountability Office by almost 8% and add over 500 new staff during the next six years. Senate Appropriations Committee member Mary Landrieu and House committee chairs John Dingell and Henry Waxman have indicated support--Landrieu says that underfunding is "pennywise and pound foolish" while Waxman, who would have more resources to pursue investigations of drug pricing and Iraq reconstruction, called expansion "worthwhile." However, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the House Appropriations Committee says that the GAO funding request cannot be reached within budgetary limitations. GAO funding was cut when Republicans were in charge of Congress as many in the GOP believed that GAO had a record of engaging in political agendas.

Long-time questions of economics exist here--is it possible to spend money to save an even greater amount of money as GAO head David Walker implies or would GAO expansion simply be used for Congressional "witch hunts" as some Republicans would suggest? Personal guess--GAO gets some funding increase but has to be more patient than Walker wants to be.


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