Senate Approves Senators Collins, Feingold’s Bill to Eliminate Wasteful Spending in Federal Purchases Card Program

Washington, DC—The U.S. Senate has approved the “Purchase Card Waste Elimination Act,” a bill authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) that would help eliminate wasteful spending that can occur when the government fails to understand its purchasing habits made with government purchase cards.

Senator Collins said, “The American people have the right to expect the federal government to spend their tax dollars carefully and wisely. The guidance requested in this bill will give the government important information on trends and habits surrounding purchase card usage. This knowledge should prove invaluable in helping to better regulate and track the use of these cards, which account for billions of dollars of government spending. Fiscal responsibility is always important, but never more today when the government is running a huge budget deficit. This legislation is one way to help reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in government spending.

Senator Feingold said, “The abuses of the government credit card program, including the purchase of designer luggage, surgical enhancements, two cars, and a motorbike, need to be stopped,” said Feingold. “I’m pleased that the legislation Senator Collins and I introduced to reform and tighten the use of government credit cards is one step closer to becoming law. At a time when our country is facing record deficits, our bill will help end the misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Purchase cards are, in essence, credit cards that agencies give to their employees for the purpose of obtaining goods and services for the federal government. Although government employees spend billions of dollars with purchase cards each year, federal agencies do very little to analyze the items obtained with purchase cards in an attempt to get a better price for the government.

Under the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would direct agencies to better train their cardholders and to more effectively analyze their spending data. It would also direct the General Services Administration (GSA) to increase its efforts to secure discounts with vendors and provide agencies with more guidance to reduce wasteful spending.