The 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.
Throughout the year, our work supports Congress’s oversight responsibilities, as we:
- Conduct financial and performance audits of federal agencies to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively, and how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives. We’ve discussed before where GAO reports come from, and here congressional staff can get more information on requesting work, including sample request letters.
- Provide expert testimony and support for congressional hearings. Members and their staff may request a witness to testify on our work at a hearing by submitting a request. We can also help identify experts, and offer other help in planning and organizing hearings. Our Resources for Congress page has more for more information on what we offer.
- Offer technical assistance and other support. Members may request other assistance, such as comments on certain legislation, staff briefings on specific reports or issues, or assistance with analyzing data or other support for short periods.
- Issue legal decisions and opinions. While we are known primarily for our reports and testimonies, the legal decisions we issue can have major implications for both the government and private sector companies. Our Office of General Counsel issues legal decisions, opinions, and reports on bid protests, appropriations law, and other issues of federal law. Listen to our podcast for more on our legal decisions:
As new members and staff arrive, some specific resources may be helpful. For example:
- Every 2 years, we update our High Risk list to focus attention on areas in need of broad-based transformation or susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. We plan to issue the 2015 High Risk update in the next few months.
- We provide direct services to Congress and congressional staff through individual outreach from our Office of Congressional Relations, which members or committees can request to become more familiar with GAO’s range of services. Staff may also register for our “GAO 101” trainings.
- Our Resources for Congress page where staff and the public can learn more about our services and how to request work. It also includes a link to Watchdog, our website for members of Congress and their staff, and, of course, GAO.gov has publicly available results of our work, including our searchable database of open recommendations.
- We encourage those on and off the Hill to follow us on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and to download our apps for iPhone and Android
We look forward to serving the 114th Congress with the accountability, integrity, and reliability that are hallmarks of our work.