Carper, Johnson, Peters, Braun Bill to Crackdown on Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in Improper Payments Signed into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, respectively, and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) applauded the signing of the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 into law. The bipartisan legislation will cut down on government waste and improper payments made by the federal government – including overpayments, underpayments, payments made to ineligible recipients or payments that were not properly documented. The bill passed the Senate in July 2019 and the House in February 2020.
“At a time when our country is facing record debt and a nearly $1 trillion federal deficit, it is simply unacceptable that federal agencies continue to make billions of dollars in improper payments. As elected officials, one of our most important responsibilities is to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we know that we can and must be doing better on that front,” said Senator Carper. “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. Today, I’m proud that our bipartisan bill to take the common sense steps necessary to reduce improper payments has been signed into law. I want to thank Senators Johnson, Peters, Braun, Chairwoman Maloney of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and the staffs of each of these members, for working with me and my staff to make this important bipartisan bill the law of the land.”
“Improper payments by the federal government cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the bureaucratic processes put in place to reduce these errors have not worked,” said Chairman Johnson. “This legislation streamlines laws so government agencies can focus on finding the root cause of this wasteful spending and fix it.”
“Michiganders work hard for their money – and they deserve to know that the federal government is using their taxpayer dollars responsibly,” said Senator Peters. “I am pleased that the President has signed into law this commonsense, bipartisan bill which will help to prevent billions of dollars in improper spending.”
“The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 is another example of a promise made and a promise kept by President Donald J. Trump, as this law that I co-sponsored will drain the swamp by reducing billions of dollars of improper payments from the federal government,” said Senator Braun. “Washington needs to do a better job of spending taxpayer dollars in an efficient manner, which is exactly what this law accomplishes.”
In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that improper payments throughout the federal government totaled over $175 billion. Since 2003, when agencies were first directed to begin reporting improper payments, cumulative improper payment estimates across government have totaled over $1.7 trillion. Just yesterday, the GAO reported that federal entities estimated about $175 billion in improper payments, an unacceptably high number which has increased over the last several fiscal years.
Specifically, the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 will:
- 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 the legislation here.