Overlapping and Duplicative Programs

Since 2011, the Government Accountability Office has identified layers and layers of federal programs doing the same thing. Its first report found, for example, 18 programs for food assistance, at least 20 serving the homeless, 47 for job training, 56 to improve financial knowledge, and 82 to improve teacher quality (19 of those finally lost funding in 2015). Its 2016 report relates that, despite being brought to light in 2012, there are still more than 90 different programs to increase the construction of “green” buildings and 45 programs—over nine agencies—to help disabled people find employment.

In written testimony in April 2016, former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma tells Congress, “GAO has now completed six duplication reports, which have identified 237 areas where federal agencies’ programs are overlapping or duplicative …. My gut is [telling me] there are even more.”

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