Carper, Johnson Bill to Curb Waste and Abuse in Federal Agencies Heads to President’s Desk for Signature

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives approved legislation co-authored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, that would strengthen coordination among federal agencies to identify and prevent improper payments. The Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015 was unanimously approved by the Senate in July. The bill will now go to the President for his signature.

“Over the past several years, federal agencies have taken concrete steps and made significant strides to decrease wasteful spending, and increase accountability and transparency in government agencies,” said Sen. Carper. “Despite agencies’ efforts, improper payments continue to cost agencies billions of taxpayer dollars, undermining the effectiveness of the services that Americans rely upon. This legislation builds on past bipartisan efforts to implement stronger program integrity measures across the federal government, and provide agency officials with the tools they need to identify and prevent improper payments. I thank my colleagues in the House of Representatives for passing this common-sense, bipartisan legislation and look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure agencies are doing all they can to better manage the resources we entrust to them.”

“I’m pleased that my bill with Senator Carper to curb wasteful federal spending has passed the House and Senate and will be sent to President Obama. The federal government’s efforts to stop improper payments have failed, as is clear from last year’s $19 billion increase in improper payments,” said. Sen. Johnson. “Taxpayers expect the federal government to ensure that it is paying the right people, in the right amount, for the right reason. Incremental improvements like this are important if we hope to reduce the $125 billion that was wasted last year.”

Improper payments are payments made by agencies in error or due to fraud. According to the Office of Management and Budget, federal agencies made an estimated $125 billion in improper payments for fiscal year 2014. The Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015 would improve existing programs, requirements, and procedures across federal agencies established to identify and prevent improper payments. This legislation builds upon two recently enacted improper payment laws championed by Senator Carper. In 2010, Senator Carper saw enactment of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA), which established new, federal-wide policies and procedures to save taxpayers money by reducing improper payments. In 2013, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act was signed into law, which further strengthened the rules requiring federal agencies to curb improper payments and mandated the establishment of a government-wide "do not pay” program.