Carper Highlights GAO High Risk List: “Our To-Do List in Congress”

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s biannual high risk list.

The 2017 High Risk List details significant progress by agencies to address the vulnerabilities or challenges to their operations during the Obama Administration. GAO has five criteria for removal from the list: leadership commitment, capacity, action plans, monitoring and demonstrated progress. The report released today reveals that out of the 32 high risk areas outlined in 2015, 23 areas, or two thirds of all the areas, have met or partially met all criteria for removal. However, many critical issues remain that require significant attention from the Administration and Congress.

“Today, GAO provided us with what I call our ‘to-do’ list in Congress. The High Risk List calls attention to agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation.” said Senator Carper. “The release of this list every two years is always sobering, because it’s a reminder of the many serious challenges that face our government, issues which have challenged managers and leadership in agencies for years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. What is needed to fully address the issues is a sustained leadership commitment in the administration and in Congress. 

“I fear that President Trump and top administration officials, however, are more focused on fulfilling campaign promises that jeopardize taxpayer dollars than on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of federal operations. From President Trump’s federal hiring freeze to his ‘two for one’ regulatory reform executive order to his high-priced directive to build a border wall, this administration’s misguided priorities harm federal agencies’ ability to recruit and retain a first class federal workforce, and take critical attention and capacity away from federal managers’ efforts to address the real problems outlined in this report. What we need to do to solve these serious issues is sustained oversight and commitment by Congress and the administration. I look forward to continuing to partner with GAO and my colleagues in the Congress to keep making progress in resolving the many serious issues outlined in this report.”

GAO’s High Risk List identifies government agencies and programs deemed “high-risk” due to vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse or need for serious reforms. An updated list is released every two years at the start of a new Congress.