WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new figures for improper payments made in Fiscal Year 2010:
“It is deeply troubling that the dollar amount of improper payments has actually increased, from $110 billion to $125 billion,” said Senator Collins. “Any way you slice it, that is an astounding level of wasted and misdirected taxpayer dollars, and it is absolutely unacceptable. In an effort to help reduce improper payments and increase the recovery of misspent funds, I was an original co-sponsor of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which the President signed into law in July.
“The new law should help reduce improper payments in the coming year, but aggressive implementation by the Administration will be required. The new law provides important new tools to address government waste, from mandatory audits and corrective action plans, to the requirement that all agencies spending more than $1 million perform recovery audits on their programs to recoup the overpayments. The new law also penalizes agencies that fail to comply with current accounting and recovery laws. It also strengthens reporting requirements for programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income that have been identified as vulnerable to improper payments, and it mandates the increased use of recovery audits. Additionally, any monies recovered during audits of entitlement and tax credit programs would be returned to those programs, helping ensure that program beneficiaries, such as Social Security recipients, receive their benefits.
“Congress will need to oversee the implementation of the new law to ensure that the Administration is using every tool to reduce the risk of improper federal payments."