This is the first in a series of bimonthly reports that will be issued between June 2020 and March 2021. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) plans to issue additional reports focusing on specific topics.
The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report bimonthly on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initial report examines key actions the federal government has taken to address COVID-19 and evolving lessons learned relevant to the nation’s response to pandemics, among other things. GAO reviewed data and documents from federal agencies about their activities and interviewed federal and state officials and industry representatives. GAO also reviewed available economic, health, and budgetary data.
Four relief laws were enacted as of June 2020, including the CARES Act in March 2020. These laws have appropriated $2.6 trillion across the government. Six areas—Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Distressed Sectors; unemployment insurance; economic impact payments; Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund; and Coronavirus Relief Fund—account for 86 percent of the appropriations.
Work on these oversight responsibilities is ongoing. As of June 17, 2020, GAO has fifty-one audits under way related to the pandemic, examining a variety of issues, including small business programs, the Strategic National Stockpile, the Defense Production Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ response to COVID-19, child welfare and education, worker safety, homeowner and renter protections, and COVID-19 testing.