WASHINGTON – In an effort to cut down on government waste, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.) today introduced legislation designed to cut down on improper payments made by the federal government— including overpayments, underpayments, or payments made to ineligible recipients or payments that were not properly documented.
“Improper payments by the federal government don’t get a lot of headlines, but if we could significantly cut down on them we’re talking about saving taxpayers billions of dollars,” said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor. “This is an issue where we can and are working in a bipartisan way, and I plan to continue doing that until we make real progress.”
“Taxpayers expect their government to ensure it pays the right people, in the right amount, and for the right reason,” said Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The bureaucratic processes put in place to reduce errors in federal government payments haven’t worked, as evidenced by the nearly $40 billion increase since 2013. This legislation simplifies regulations so that government agencies can focus on finding the root causes of improper payments and fix them.”
“As elected officials, one of our most important responsibilities is to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Carper said. “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. The money saved by these efforts can be put to good use, like funding health care programs or investing in our decades-old infrastructure. However, we know that, year after year, the federal government continues to mismanage billions of dollars through improper payments. To not take action would simply be irresponsible. With a little hard work and bipartisanship, we can take the common sense steps necessary to reduce improper payments and put these funds to use for the American people, and that’s exactly what this legislation does.”
In FY2016 alone, the Government Accountability Office estimated that improper payments throughout the federal government totaled over $144 billion. The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2018 would modify and restructure existing improper payments laws to help agencies better identify and reduce the amount of money wasted due to needless government payments.
The bill would:
· Require agencies to undertake additional efforts and develop plans to prevent improper payments before they happen.
· Improve the way agencies identify programs with the highest risk of improper payments.
· Require the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to issue guidance to improve annual reporting on agencies’ compliance with improper payments statutes.
· Create 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.
Read a copy of the Senators’ legislation is available online HERE.