WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to cut down on billions of dollars in wasteful government spending. The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 aims 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 earlier this year along with U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN).
“Taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be used wisely, but the federal government has struggled to rein in an estimated $151 billion in wrongful payments,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased that the Senate has approved our practical, bipartisan solution to help prevent improper payments, fraud, and waste so we can focus on ensuring taxpayer dollars are used to effectively serve the American people.”
Improper payments have been a longstanding challenge for the federal government, which has, by its own estimate, wasted billions of dollars annually in payments to individuals 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.