Overview of Duplication & Overlap
The Department of Justice (DOJ): 253 Duplicative Programs costing $1.9 billion a year. DOJ administers 253 grants for crime prevention, law enforcement, and crime victim services through the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Community Oriented Policing Services Office. These three offices awarded over 11,000 grant awards in 2010, but GAO reported that DOJ officials do not track the flow of grants to subgrantees and do not know for what purposes and activities the subgrantees are using the money. DOJ officials even told GAO that they encourage applicants to apply for as many DOJ grants as possible. The DOJ gave out $3.9 billion in grants in 2010, and since 2005, the DOJ has been given $30 billion for grants. One grant recipient told GAO that they had received so much money from the DOJ that they planned on returning some of the money because it was more than they needed.
Diesel Emissions Programs: 14 different programs costing billions each year are administered through the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to reduce diesel emissions. 13 of the programs provide grants and one program provides loans for this purpose. GAO reports that each program overlaps with at least one other program “in the specific activities they fund, the program goals, or the eligible recipients of funding.” Cost: From 2007 to 2011, these diesel emissions programs cost at least $1.4 billion and at least $510 million in forgone tax revenue in FY 2010.
Early Learning and Child Care: 45 different programs costing at least $13.3 billion a year. The federal government operates 45 programs, and five tax provisions to encourage early learning and child care for children under the age of five. Cost: Federal programs for early learning and child care received at least $13.3 billion in FY2010. The five tax provisions “accounted for at least $3.1 billion of forgone tax revenue” in FY2010. Head Start, the largest program, spent $7.2 billion in FY 2010.
Employment for People with Disabilities: 50 overlapping and duplicative Programs costing approximately $3.5 billion a year. GAO reported finding 50 different programs supporting employment for people with disabilities. These 50 programs are operated by nine federal agencies and are overseen by an even greater number of congressional committees. 18 programs are specifically for veterans and service members, and 6 are for students and young adults, five of which all provide employment counseling, assessment, and case management. 22 of the 50 programs reported that they did not track or monitor any outcome measures.
Financial Literacy: 56 duplicative programs costing $30.7 million a year. GAO found 15 financial literacy programs operated by 13 different federal agencies. However, a 2011 survey conducted by the Departments of Treasury and Education found 56 financial literacy programs operated by 20 different federal agencies.
Green Building: 94 duplicative programs. GAO reported finding 94 initiatives, operated through 11 agencies, promoting green building. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Energy operate two-thirds of the green building programs. Forty-seven of the programs are grants, nine programs provide loans, five offer tax credits, three offer tax deductions, and forty-five initiatives offer technical assistance. *Annual cost unknown because the agencies running these programs do not keep track of green building funds.
Housing Assistance: Over 160 duplicative programs costing $170 billion a year. Since the 1930s, the federal government has been involved in supporting affordable housing through the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Without proper oversight, the federal government’s involvement has ballooned into a puzzle of 160 overlapping and duplicative programs, administered through 20 agencies, intended to encourage homeownership and provide affordable rental housing for low-income families.
Information Technology Investment Management: The Department of Defense (DOD) made 2,383 investments and the Department of Energy made 876 information technology investments in FY2011 for a total cost of $79 billion. Additionally, GAO found 37 investments, from a sample of investments that were duplicative between the DOD and the Department of Energy, costing $1.2 billion.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education: 209 federal STEM programs costing approximately $3.1 billion a year. GAO found a total of 209 federal programs designed to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 170 programs serve postsecondary students, 75 programs served K-12 students, and 70 programs served K-12 teachers.
Support for Entrepreneurs: 53 different programs costing $2.6 billion a year. Four different agencies and departments operate 53 programs to help entrepreneurs. GAO reported that these programs, run by the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Agriculture (USDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA), overlap in their purpose resulting in inefficiency and compromising their effectiveness.
Surface Freight Transportation, Under Department of Transportation: No clearly defined role for the federal government or strategy for surface freight transportation resulting in dozens of programs with overlapping and duplicative roles in promoting passenger and freight mobility. According to GAO, “this fragmented structure makes it difficult to determine the types of freight projects that are funded and their impact on overall freight mobility.”
Unmanned Aircraft Programs: 15 Overlapping Programs estimated to cost approximately $37.5 billion between FY2012 and FY2016. GAO found 15 unmanned aircraft programs within five categories based on weight, altitude, and speed. GAO found overlap between group four and five and it is expected that another $32.4 billion will be spent to complete these programs.