Recent GAO reports

From the Government Accountability Office (GAO):

CHECK 21 ACT: Most Consumers Have Accepted and Banks Are Progressing Toward Full Adoption of Check Truncation, GAO-09-8 (pdf, 66pp/1.38MB), Oct. 28, 2008

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act of 2003 (Check 21) was intended to streamline check collection by promoting electronic check processing and authorizing substitute checks--paper copies of the front and back of original checks--for banks that do not accept checks electronically. Check 21 required GAO to assess the following regarding check truncation: (1) gains in economic efficiency and benefits and costs to the Federal Reserve and financial institutions, (2) consumer acceptance, and (3) benefits and costs to bank consumers. GAO found no overall gains in efficiency by the Federal Reserve or a sample of banks but future efficiencies are expected; most bank consumers have accepted changes to their checking accounts and have realized benefits and costs relating to faster processing and access to account information.

GREEN AFFORDABLE HOUSING: HUD Has Made Progress in Promoting Green Building, but Expanding Efforts Could Help Reduce Energy Costs and Benefit Tenants, GAO-09-46 (pdf, 68pp/1.42MB), Oct. 7, 2008

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spends about $5 billion annually on energy costs for public housing. For this report, GAO was asked to review (1) HUD's efforts to promote energy efficiency in its programs, (2) potential costs and benefits of green building in its affordable housing programs, and (3) lessons learned elsewhere that HUD could use for green building. GAO recommends that HUD require energy-efficient products and appliances in public housing, update the building code for manufactured housing, develop a utility benchmarking tool for multifamily properties, and provide nonenergy green building incentive points in some grant programs.

HEALTHY MARRIAGE AND RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE: Further Progress Is Needed in Developing a Risk-Based Monitoring Approach to Help HHS Improve Program Oversight, GAO-08-1002 (pdf, 55pp/6.96MB), Sept. 26, 2008, released Oct. 27, 2008

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 appropriated $150 million in grants for Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood programs from 2006 through 2010. Both programs serve low-income and minority groups but Healthy Marriage programs target teenagers with marriage and relationship activities while Responsible Fatherhood programs provide parenting skills primarily to incarcerated parents. This report reviews oversight of the grants made by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) for these programs.

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