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112th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report
                                                                112-219
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 523

 
                   GAO MANDATES REVISION ACT OF 2012

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 3315

 TO REPEAL OR MODIFY CERTAIN MANDATES OF THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY 
                                 OFFICE




               September 19, 2012.--Ordered to be printed
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

               JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut, Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan                 SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii              TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware           SCOTT P. BROWN, Massachusetts
MARK L. PRYOR, Arkansas              JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JON TESTER, Montana                  RAND PAUL, Kentucky
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  JERRY MORAN, Kansas

                  Michael L. Alexander, Staff Director
       Beth M. Grossman, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
               Carly A. Covieo, Professional Staff Member
  Peter P. Tyler, Professional Staff Member, Subcommittee on Federal 
                         Financial Management,
  Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
               Nicholas A. Rossi, Minority Staff Director
           Clyde E. Hicks, Minority Professional Staff Member
                  Trina Driessnack Tyrer, Chief Clerk


                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              
                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................1
III. Legislative History..............................................2
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported.............3
  V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................4
 VI. Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................4
VII. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5


                                                       Calendar No. 523
112th Congress
                                 SENATE
                                                                 Report
 2d Session                                                     112-219

======================================================================



                   GAO MANDATES REVISION ACT OF 2012

                                _______
                                

               September 19, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lieberman, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 3315]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 3315) to repeal or 
modify certain mandates of the Government Accountability 
Office, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of this legislation is to make the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) more efficient by eliminating or 
reducing its obligation to conduct eight recurring statutorily-
required audits and examinations that once served important 
purposes, but now act as unnecessary consumers of GAO's limited 
resources.

              II. Background and Need for the Legislation

    The GAO aids Congress by, among other things, auditing and 
examining government programs and reporting to Congress on its 
findings. GAO's work sometimes results from the requests of 
Congressional committees or subcommittees, and sometimes it 
flows directly from a statute mandating GAO to report to 
Congress on a particular program, often at set intervals and 
with no end date. Although GAO can work with Congressional 
requestors to ensure that its work on their request serves 
Congress's current needs, GAO has little, if any, flexibility 
with respect to statutory mandates; even if it and relevant 
Congressional stakeholders agree that the report provides 
little benefit to Congress. For example, in the Haitian 
Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement 
(HOPE) Act of 2008 (19 U.S.C. Sec. 2701-Sec. 2703), Congress 
included a requirement for GAO to examine an earned import 
allowance program for Haiti every year. In recent years, 
however, the program has been virtually inactive, making the 
report of little value to Congress. Similarly, the Fiscal Year 
(FY) 2004 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act directed GAO to 
annually audit the then newly established Senate Preservation 
Fund--which funds various activities related to works of art, 
historical objects, documents, and materials relating to 
historical matters. That Fund, however, spent less than $2,000 
in FY 2009 and $3,500 in FY 2010, less than it costs GAO to 
conduct and report on its audit.
    The Committee has concluded that recurring mandates, many 
of which do not include sunset provisions, should be evaluated 
from time to time to review the necessity of the report or 
audit. S. 3315 is not the first time Congress has taken action 
to revise or eliminate GAO mandates; similar provisions have 
been included in previous appropriations bills and National 
Defense Authorization bills. An example of this is Section 1233 
of the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act 
(P.L. 111-84) which eliminated a requirement that the GAO 
report quarterly to Congress on the costs of Operation Iraqi 
Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
    Eliminating unnecessary reports not only will take 
unnecessary work off of GAO's plate; it also will allow GAO to 
more quickly respond to Congressional requests for assistance 
in matters of great importance. Statutorily mandated reports 
and audits take priority over other reports requested by 
Congress, meaning that statutorily required work, regardless of 
its importance or urgency, often pushes more pressing and time-
sensitive Congressional requests to the back of the queue. This 
is a particular problem in our current fiscal times; GAO now 
sits at its lowest staffing level since 1935. As a result, it 
can take GAO from six to nine months simply to begin many new 
congressionally requested reports.
    Last year, GAO initiated a process under which GAO 
conducted an agency-wide evaluation of its 102 recurring 
statutory mandates to identify those relating to programs at a 
low risk of mismanagement or other problems, or where GAO's 
recurring work otherwise generally added little value to the 
administration or oversight of the program. After identifying 
candidates for elimination, GAO worked with the Congressional 
committees of jurisdiction to determine whether the intended 
recipients of the reports concurred with GAO's recommendation 
to either modify or eliminate the statutory mandate.
    S. 3315 is the product of that process. It proposes to 
eliminate or reduce eight statutory mandates for GAO to produce 
reports that both GAO and the relevant Congressional committees 
believe are either no longer necessary, or necessary, but on a 
less frequent basis. For the programs covered under the revised 
or repealed mandates, Chairs and Ranking Members of Committees 
and Subcommittees could still request reports on any particular 
issue of interest. It is worth noting that S. 3315 does not 
establish any new mandates for GAO, establish any policy or 
general requirement for the agency, or affect the agency's 
budget.

                        III. Legislative History

    S. 3315 was introduced by Senators Carper, Collins, and 
Lieberman on June 20, 2012, and referred to the Senate 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
    The Committee considered S. 3315 at a business meeting on 
June 27, 2012, and continued on June 29, 2012. Senator Coburn 
offered an amendment to require GAO to examine certain aspects 
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy every three 
years; the original bill language proposed to dispense with the 
existing annual examination requirement entirely. The Committee 
adopted the Coburn amendment by a voice vote on June 27. 
Senators present for the vote were Lieberman, Akaka, Carper, 
Collins, Johnson and Portman.
    The Committee then ordered S. 3315 reported to the Senate, 
also by voice vote on June 29. Members present for the vote 
were Senators Lieberman, Levin, Akaka, Carper, Pryor, Landrieu, 
Tester, Begich, Collins, Brown, McCain, Johnson, Portman and 
Moran.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2012''.

Section 2. Repeals and modifications

    This section repeals or modifies eight statutory mandates 
currently imposed on GAO.
    Subsection (a) amends the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act of 
1988 (2 U.S.C. Sec. 2084) to change the annual audit of the 
Capitol Preservation Commission to a periodic one occurring at 
least once every three years, or more frequently if requested 
by the Senate Rules or House Administration Committees.
    Subsection (b) amends the Federal Courts Administration Act 
of 1992 (P.L. 102-572 Title II Sec. 201(i)) to repeal the 
requirement that GAO compute the actuarial liability of the 
annuity fund every three years. This requirement is duplicative 
of the work currently being performed by an enrolled actuary 
and being independently audited by the Administrative Office of 
the United States Courts.
    Subsection (c) amends section 203 of the Reauthorization 
Act for the Office of National Drug Control Policy of 2006 (21 
U.S.C. Sec. 1708a) to modify the annual mandate to review the 
Office (ONDCP) and instead require an audit in 2013 and every 
three years thereafter. GAO has reviewed numerous ONDCP 
programs annually since 2006 and the National Academy of Public 
Administration has done a comprehensive review of ONDCP 
Management.
    Subsection (d) amends the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2012 
(P.L. 111-275; 38 U.S.C. 4301 note) to modify the annual GAO 
reporting requirement to require instead a single report no 
later than a year after the commencement of a specific 
demonstration project.
    Subsection (e) amends the Semipostal Authorization Act 
(P.L. 106-253; 114 Stat. 636; 39 U.S.C. Sec. 416 note) to 
repeal the requirement that GAO issue interim reports four 
years after a semipostal stamp is first made available as well 
as a final report no later than six months before the 
semipostal stamp's scheduled expiration date.
    Subsection (f) amends the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity 
Through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008 (19 U.S.C. 
Sec. 2703a(b)(4)) to strike the annual GAO reporting 
requirement for the Earned Import Allowance Program. The 
program has been relatively inactive, with future use of the 
program expected to be minimal. In addition, the Department of 
Commerce already collects information on the use of this 
program.
    Subsection (g) amends the Veterans' Benefits Improvements 
Act of 1996 (36 U.S.C. Sec. 2103(h)) to strike the requirement 
that GAO conduct an annual audit of the American Battle 
Monuments Commission's financial statements. The Commission's 
statements will continue to be audited in accordance with other 
statutory provisions that make the Commission, like other 
executive agencies, responsible for having its own audit 
completed.
    Subsection (h) amends the 2004 Legislative Branch 
Appropriations Act (2 U.S.C. Sec. 2108 (c)(6)) to change the 
GAO audit of the Senate Preservation Fund from an annual to a 
periodic one (occurring at least once every three years, or 
more frequently at the request of the Senate Rules Committee).

                   V. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirement of paragraph 11(b)(1) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and has 
determined that the bill will have no regulatory impact within 
the meaning of the Rules. The Committee agrees with CBO's 
statement that the bill contains no intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.

             VI. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                     July 12, 2012.
Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 3315, the GAO 
Mandates Revision Act of 2012.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford,
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 3315--GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2012

    S. 3315 would reduce the number of reviews and audits 
conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for 
eight specified activities. The Congress often requires that 
the GAO perform an annual examination of a program, agency, or 
other federal activity. S. 3315 would modify or repeal a small 
number of the reviews and audits GAO is required to perform.
    CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have 
no significant impact on the federal budget. GAO has an annual 
budget of more than $500 million and prepares hundreds of 
products for the Congress each year. CBO expects that 
implementing S. 3315 would not significantly decrease the 
agency's current workload. Any reduction in the agency's annual 
cost from implementing S. 3315 would depend on the amounts 
provided to GAO in future appropriation bills. Enacting S. 3315 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 3315 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

       VII. Changes to Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 3315 as reported are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

TITLE 2--THE CONGRESS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 30--OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF CAPITOL COMPLEX

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter V--Historical Preservation and Fine Arts

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



PART A--UNITED STATES CAPITOL PRESERVATION COMMISSION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 2084. AUDITS BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL.

    The Comptroller General shall conduct [annual audits of the 
transactions of the Commission] periodic audits of the 
transactions of the Commission, but at least once every three 
years and shall report the results of each audit to the 
Congress[.] unless the chair or ranking member of the Committee 
on House Administration or the Senate Committee on Rules and 
Administration requests that an audit be conducted before the 
three year period.

TITLE 2--THE CONGRESS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 30--OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF CAPITOL COMPLEX

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter V--Historical Preservation and Fine Arts

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



PART B--SENATE COMMISSION ON ART

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 2108. PROVISIONS RELATING TO SENATE COMMISSION ON ART.

    (a) * * *
    (b) * * *
    (c) Establishment of Senate Preservation Fund.--
          (1) * * *
          (2) * * *
          (3) * * *
          (4) * * *
          (5) * * *
          (6) Audits.--The Comptroller General shall conduct 
        [annual audits of the transactions of the Senate 
        Preservation Fund] periodic audits of the transactions 
        of the Senate Preservation Fund, at least once every 
        three years and shall report the results of each audit 
        to the Congress[.] unless the chair or ranking member 
        of the Committee on House Administration or the Senate 
        Committee on Rules and Administration requests that an 
        audit be conducted before the three year period.

TITLE 19--CUSTOMS DUTIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 15--CARIBBEAN BASIN ECONOMIC RECOVERY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 2703A. SPECIAL RULES FOR HAITI.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


          (4) Earned import allowance rule
                  (A) * * *
                  (B) * * *
                  [(C) Review by united states government 
                accountability office.--The United States 
                Government Accountability Office shall review 
                the program established under subparagraph (B) 
                annually for the purpose of evaluating the 
                effectiveness of, and making recommendations 
                for improvements in, the program.]
                  (C)[(D)] Enforcement provisions.--
                          (i) Fraudulent claims of preference. 
                        Any person who makes a false claim for 
                        preference under the program 
                        established under subparagraph (B) 
                        shall be subject to any applicable 
                        civil or criminal penalty that may be 
                        imposed under the customs laws of the 
                        United States or under title 18.
                          (ii) Penalties for other fraudulent 
                        information. The Secretary of Commerce 
                        may establish and impose penalties for 
                        the submission to the Secretary of 
                        Commerce of fraudulent information 
                        under the program established under 
                        subparagraph (B), other than a claim 
                        described in clause (i).

TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 22--NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 1708. ANNUAL REPORT REQUIREMENT.

    (a) In General.--On or before February 1, [of each year] 
2013 and every three years thereafter, the Director shall 
submit a report to Congress that describes--
          (1) the strategy of the national media campaign and 
        whether specific objectives of the campaign were 
        accomplished;
          (2) steps taken to ensure that the national media 
        campaign operates in an effective and efficient manner 
        consistent with the overall strategy and focus of the 
        campaign;
          (3) plans to purchase advertising time and space;
          (4) policies and practices implemented to ensure that 
        Federal funds are used responsibly to purchase 
        advertising time and space and eliminate the potential 
        for waste, fraud, and abuse;
          (5) all contracts entered into with a corporation, 
        partnership, or individual working on behalf of the 
        national media campaign;
          (6) specific policies and steps implemented to ensure 
        compliance with title IV of this Act;
          (7) steps taken to ensure that the national media 
        campaign will secure, to the maximum extent possible, 
        no cost matches of advertising time and space or in-
        kind contributions that are directly related to the 
        campaign in accordance with title IV of this Act; and
          (8) a review and evaluation of the effectiveness of 
        the national media campaign strategy for the past year.
    (b) Audit.--The Government Accountability Office shall, [at 
a frequency of not less than once per year] not later than 
December 31, 2013, and every three years thereafter--
          (1) conduct and supervise an audit and investigation 
        relating to the programs and operations of the--
                  (A) Office; or
                  (B) certain programs within the Office, 
                including--
                          (i) the High Intensity Drug 
                        Trafficking Areas Program;
                          (ii) the Counterdrug Technology 
                        Assessment Center; or
                          (iii) the National Youth Anti-drug 
                        Media Campaign; and
          (2) provide the Director and the appropriate 
        congressional committees with a report containing an 
        evaluation of and recommendations on the--
                  (A) policies and activities of the programs 
                and operations subject to the audit and 
                investigation;
                  (B) economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in 
                the administration of the reviewed programs and 
                operations; and
                  (C) policy or management changes needed to 
                prevent and detect fraud and abuse in such 
                programs and operations.

TITLE 28--JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--ORGANIZATION OF COURTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 17--RESIGNATION AND RETIREMENT OF JUSTICES AND JUDGES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 376. ANNUITIES FOR SURVIVORS OF CERTAIN JUDICIAL OFFICIALS OF THE 
                    UNITED STATES.

    [(w) The Comptroller General of the United States shall, at 
the end of each 3-fiscal year period, determine whether the 
contributions by judicial officials under subsection (b) during 
that 3-year period accounted for 50 percent of the costs of the 
Judicial Survivors' Annuities Fund and if not, then what 
adjustments in the contribution rates under subsection (b) 
should be made to achieve that 50 percent figure. The 
Comptroller General shall report the results of each 
determination under this subsection to the Congress.]
    (w)[(x)] In the case of a widow or widower whose annuity 
under clause (i) or (ii) of subsection (h)(1) is terminated 
because of remarriage before attaining 55 years of age, the 
annuity shall be restored at the same rate commencing on the 
day the remarriage is dissolved by death, divorce, or 
annulment, if--
          (1) the widow or widower elects to receive this 
        annuity instead of any other survivor annuity to which 
        such widow or widower may be entitled, under this 
        chapter or under another retirement system for 
        Government employees, by reason of the remarriage; and
          (2) any payment made to such widow or widower under 
        subsection (o) or (p) on termination of the annuity is 
        returned to the Judicial Survivors' Annuities Fund.
    (x)[(y)] For each year of Federal judicial service 
completed, judicial officials who are enrolled in the Judicial 
Survivors' Annuities System on the date of enactment of the 
Judicial Survivors Protection Act of 2009 may purchase, in 3-
month increments, up to an additional year of service credit, 
under the terms set forth in this section. In the case of 
judicial officials who elect to enroll in the Judicial 
Survivors' Annuities System during the statutory open 
enrollment period authorized under the Judicial Survivors 
Protection Act of 2009, for each year of Federal judicial 
service completed, such an official may purchase, in 3-month 
increments, up to an additional year of service credit for each 
year of Federal judicial service completed, under the terms set 
forth in section 4(a) of that Act.

     TITLE 36--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES, CEREMONIES AND 
ORGANIZATIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle I--Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


     PART B--UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED WITH 
OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 21--AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 2103. ADMINISTRATIVE.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    (h) Financial Statements and Audits.--[(1)] The Commission 
shall have a system of financial controls to enable the 
Commission to comply with the requirements [of paragraph (2) of 
this subsection] of section 3515 of title 31, United States 
Code and with section 2106(d)(4) of this title.
    [(2) The Commission shall--
          [(A) by March 1 of each year (beginning with 1998)--
                  [(i) prepare a financial statement which 
                covers all accounts and associated activities 
                of the Commission for the prior fiscal year and 
                is consistent with the requirements of section 
                3515 of title 31; and
                  [(ii) submit the financial statement, 
                together with a narrative summary, to the 
                Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate 
                and House of Representatives; and
          [(B) obtain an audit by the Comptroller General of 
        each financial statement prepared under subparagraph 
        (A) of this paragraph, which shall be conducted in 
        accordance with applicable generally accepted 
        government auditing standards and shall be in lieu of 
        any audit otherwise required by law.]

TITLE 38--VETERANS' BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART III--READJUSTMENT AND RELATED BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



   CHAPTER 43--EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF MEMBERS OF THE 
UNIFORMED SERVICES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter I--General

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 4301. PURPOSES; SENSE OF CONGRESS.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


   NOTE: DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR REFERRAL OF USERRA CLAIMS AGAINST 
           FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL

    (g) Government Accountability Office Report.--The 
Comptroller General shall review the relative performance of 
the Office of Special Counsel and the Department of Labor under 
the demonstration project and--
          (1) not later than one year after the commencement of 
        the demonstration project, [and annually thereafter 
        during the period when the demonstration project is 
        conducted,] submit to the Committees on Veterans' 
        Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives an 
        interim report on the demonstration project; and

TITLE 39--POSTAL SERVICE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART I--GENERAL

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 4--GENERAL AUTHORITY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 416. Authority to issue Semipostals

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


        [NOTE: REPORTS BY THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE]

          [(1) Interim report.--The Government Accountability 
        Office shall submit to the President and each House of 
        Congress an interim report on the operation of the 
        program established under section 416 of title 39, 
        United States Code (as amended by this section) not 
        later than 4 years after semipostals are first made 
        available to the public under such section.
          [(2) Final report.--The Government Accountability 
        Office shall transmit to the President and each House 
        of Congress a final report on the operation of the 
        program established under such section 416, not later 
        than 6 months before the date on which it is scheduled 
        to expire. The final report shall contain a detailed 
        statement of the findings and conclusions of the 
        Government Accountability Office, together with any 
        recommendations it considers appropriate.]