The First Watchdog in Chief, John R. McCarl

thumbnail_gaoGAO is headed by the U.S. Comptroller General (CG), and while most school children learn the names of past presidents, here at GAO, we recall the tenures of past CGs. Today’s WatchBlog looks back to our first Comptroller General, John R. McCarl, who set the course for the GAO of today.

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The Effects of Technology on Food Stamp Fraud

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the federal Food Stamp Program, helps low-income individuals and households obtain more nutritious food. In fiscal year 2013, SNAP provided about 47 million people with $76 billion in benefits. The program has long been a target for fraud, but new technology has changed what that fraud looks like and how the government detects and prevents it. Today’s WatchBlog explores what we’ve found about technology and SNAP fraud.

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Understanding the Housing Finance System

housing thumbnailThe housing finance market is more than just homebuyers, sellers, and real estate agents—it’s a complicated landscape of borrowers, lenders, securitizers, servicers, and investors. The complexity of housing finance played a major role in the 2007-2009 financial crisis, and poses challenges for reforming the system.

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GAO’s Physical Infrastructure Team

thumbnail_gaoGAO’s workforce is organized largely by subject area, with most employees working in 1 of 14 mission teams. Today, we’ll spotlight the Physical Infrastructure (PI) team, which helps Congress and federal agencies better manage the physical infrastructure network that connects the nation and bolsters its economy.

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Weather Forecasting—Outlook Unclear

WeatherSandy forecasts can warn people before major storms strike—allowing time to protect homes, businesses, and lives. We have previously discussed the importance of the satellites the United States uses for its forecasts, and wanted to update our readers on recent developments in this area.

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GAO’s Education, Workforce, and Income Security Team

GAO’s workforce worker_family_supportsis organized largely by subject area, with many of its employees working in one of 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the Education, Workforce, and Income Security (EWIS) team, which focuses on programs and legislation that affect Americans’ quality of life from infancy to old age.

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Funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Thumbnail Health CareSince 1997, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has provided health care coverage for more than 8 million children in low-income families that don’t have health insurance, but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. This year, Congress will decide whether to continue funding CHIP. Read on to learn about some of the issues involved in this decision.

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Happy Birthday, WatchBlog!

One year ago today, we published our first WatchBlog post. Since dogthen, we’ve published over 100 more, and the blog has been viewed more than 50,000 times. Celebrate this milestone with us by looking back on some of the areas we covered here in our first year.

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Reconstruction Efforts in Haiti 5 Years after the Earthquake

Five years ago today, on January 12, 2010, a powerful earthquake struck Haiti. The earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people, displaced about 2 million more, and destroyed many homes, roads, and other buildings. In addition to immediate relief efforts, the United States pledged over $1 billion for reconstruction projects. On the 5th anniversary of the disaster, read about some of the challenges we identified facing efforts to rebuild housing and infrastructure.

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Welcome, 114th Congress!

thumbnail_gaoThe 114th Congress convened on January 6, 2015. As they begin their work, we wanted to highlight some of the ways we serve Congress, particularly at the start of each new Congress. Hopefully these links can also help anyone—elected or otherwise—better understand GAO’s role in congressional decisionmaking.

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