WASHINGTON (January 12, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today expressed its support for a bipartisan initiative providing for the Comptroller General of the United States to make a presentation to a joint session of Congress regarding the audited financial statement of the executive branch.
A “Fiscal State of the Nation” Resolution (H. Con. Res. 8) was introduced on January 6 by U.S. Representatives Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and 31 additional House members.
The measure is an important element of a bipartisan initiative to address the fiscal condition of the federal government – through the lawmakers’ Bipartisan Working Group. “The United States has a national debt that is fast approaching $20 trillion,” Rep. Renacci remarked. “This resolution would require the Comptroller General to address a joint session of Congress on our country’s fiscal health and financial position to promote greater awareness of its long-term financial constraints.”
Commending Renacci and the resolution’s other sponsors for their leadership in promoting fiscal transparency in a January 12 letter, AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, stated, “We believe requiring the Comptroller General to make an annual presentation before a joint session of Congress will be very helpful to focus these key policymakers on some of the most important aspects of the financial statements, including financial and sustainability measures. It will also assist them in better understanding the results of the audit and any related findings.”
Melancon also wrote that, “The requirements outlined in this Concurrent Resolution represent another critical step in moving our Federal government forward, particularly as it relates to financial accountability and transparency, and will encourage improved decision making around government spending and stewardship of our nation’s assets.”
The AICPA continues to encourage all CPAs to use the federal government’s financial statements as a tool to illustrate the danger budget deficits pose to our nation’s economic future. Developed in 2012, the Institute’s non-partisan “What’s at Stake” effort promotes the use of the federal government’s financial statements to provide a holistic look at the country’s financial status.
The Comptroller General of the United States heads the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an agency within the legislative branch of the federal government. The Comptroller General works in a non-partisan and non-ideological manner with Congressional clients and external parties. GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and in helping to improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. The agency carries out audit, evaluative, and investigative assignments and provides legal analyses to the Congress.