Legislation Introduced to Cut Federal Duplication and Overlap

Published: April 27, 2016

Policy and LegislationWaste, Fraud, and Abuse

Last week, bipartisan legislation was introduced to tackle federal waste caused by overlap, duplication and fragmentation among federal programs.

The act, dubbed the GREAT Act (Getting Results through Enhanced Accountability and Transparency Act of 2016), would require agencies to identify, consolidate and eliminate unnecessary duplicative government programs. The purpose of the act “is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government in measuring and managing unnecessary duplication, fragmentation and overlap in government programs and in addressing recommendations from the Government Accountability Office.”

The legislation was sponsored by several Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. Representatives Steve Russell (R-OK) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the bill to the House and Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced it to the Senate. Russell and Duckworth both sit on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, while Johnson and Carper are chairman and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

The bill follows on the heels of the release of GAO’s “2016 Annual Report:  Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits.”  In the report, GAO presents 92 actions that the executive branch or Congress could take to improve efficiency and effectiveness across 37 areas that span a broad range of government missions and functions. GAO estimates that over $125 billion will be saved from 2010-2025 due to agency actions taken as a result of GAO’s previous recommendations. GAO also estimates that tens of billions in additional funds could be saved if agencies further implemented their recommendations. 


Similar legislation to reduce federal duplication was introduced in 2013 and 2015 requiring the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to analyze proposed legislation to determine if a new bill created a federal program, office or initiative that would duplicate or overlap an existing federal entity.  CRS would assign a duplication score.  Unlike the former proposed legislation, the GREAT Act puts the onus on the agencies to stamp out duplication rather than on Congress.


If the GREAT Act legislation passes, contractors may find opportunities to assist agencies in reducing redundant IT systems and functions, and to help migrate data and processes to another organization or shared services arrangement.