WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today applauded the House passage of bipartisan legislation to cut down on billions of dollars in wasteful government spending. The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 will help to rein in improper payments – including duplicative, excessive, unnecessary and improperly documented payments – that are estimated to have cost the federal government more than $151 billion in fiscal year 2018 alone. Peters introduced the legislation last year along with U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN).
“Michiganders expect their taxpayer dollars to be used wisely, but the federal government has failed to rein in billions of dollars in improper spending,” said Senator Peters. “I am pleased that our House colleagues supported our commonsense, bipartisan effort to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently, and look forward to this important bill being signed into law.”
“At a time when our country is facing record debt and deficits, it is simply unacceptable that federal agencies continue to make billions of dollars in improper payments. As elected officials, one of our most important responsibilities is to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we know that we can and must be doing better on that front,” said Senator Carper. “That’s why, for years, I have worked to make it a priority across the federal government to root out and eliminate billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Today, I’m proud that my bipartisan bill to take the common sense steps necessary to reduce improper payments has now unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. I want to thank Senators Johnson, Peters, Braun, Chairwoman Maloney of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and the staffs of each of these members, for working with me and my staff on this important bipartisan bill that is finally on its way to the President’s desk. I’m glad we were able to get this important bill across the finish line here in Congress, and I would urge the President to act swiftly to sign this legislation into law.”
“Improper payments by the federal government cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the bureaucratic processes put in place to reduce these errors have not worked,” said Chairman Johnson. “This legislation streamlines laws so government agencies can focus on finding the root cause of this wasteful spending and fix it.”
“The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 will reduce billions of dollars of improper payments from the federal government and I’m thankful this legislation will be signed into law by President Trump who continues to keep his promise of draining the swamp in Washington,” said Senator Mike Braun.
Improper payments have been a longstanding challenge for the federal government, which has, by its own estimate, spent billions of dollars annually on payments and entities who may not have been entitled to receive them. Since 2003, when federal agencies were first required to begin reporting improper payments, the federal government has wasted an estimated $1.4 trillion in total improper payments.
The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 would modify and restructure existing improper payments laws to help agencies better identify and reduce the amount of money wasted as a result of improper government payments. The bill requires agencies to develop plans to prevent improper payments from happening in the first place and improve methods for identifying programs that are at the highest risk of improper payments. The bill also creates a working group that will enable federal agencies to collaborate with each other and non-federal partners, such as state governments, to develop strategies for addressing key drivers of improper payments, such as fraud and eligibility determinations in state-managed federal benefits programs.
As Ranking Member of the Senate’s chief oversight committee, Senator Peters has long sought to rein in wasteful spending and ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Last year, Peters’ bipartisan legislation to streamline the federal inventory review process and save taxpayer money by selling or disposing of excess property or supplies was signed into law by President Trump. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also unanimously approved a Peters-led bill to save millions of taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals.