Carper, Murphy Commend House Passage of Their Legislation to Curb Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Federal Government

Bill now goes to President's desk for signature

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) celebrated the House of Representative’s passage of The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (S.1508). The bill, sponsored by Sen. Carper and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) in the House, requires federal agencies to identify and recover the estimated $98 billion of taxpayer dollars lost annually due to wasteful federal spending. The bill will now be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.  


"After a six year journey, I am delighted that my bill, The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, is on its way to the President’s desk," said Sen. Carper. "It’s a perfect example of common-sense bipartisan, bicameral legislation.  This bill provides the federal government with new tools to identify, recover, and hopefully prevent improper payments.  For years the private sector has been using these tools with great success to identify and recover improper payments and the federal government has begun using these techniques on a limited basis in Medicare and it has shown a great potential for saving taxpayer money.  The expanded use of these new tools to recover taxpayer money couldn’t come at a better time as we work to reduce our national debt of over $13 trillion.  This bill’s passage shows our government’s commitment to getting our fiscal house in order.  It is unacceptable for our nation to be running daringly high budget deficits for a prolonged period of time. Over the last year or so, we have had both feet on the accelerator in an effort to spur economic growth and job creation. Now it is the time to take one foot off as our economic recovery begins to take hold and put one foot on the brake to help slow the growth in federal spending. Fortunately, there is still some low-hanging fruit out there, wasteful federal spending, which my bill seeks out."


"Still, there is even more we can do, which is why the legislation is so important in order to take the next steps, especially when it comes to actually going out and recovering the money we lose every year to avoidable errors and preventable fraud," added Sen. Carper.  "As I often say ‘If it’s not perfect, make it better.’ All of us in Congress share a responsibility to do just that in curbing waste and fraud. It is not the last step, but will give us some great tools. I look forward to seeing this important bill signed into law and working with my congressional colleagues and the Administration on its successful implementation."


"If a family was double billed for their car payment or paid for groceries they never received, they’d figure out what went wrong and get their money back," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "Washington should hold itself to the same standard of fiscal responsibility, and I’m proud to pass this bill to protect taxpayer dollars and reduce waste."


The legislation provides important tools to address government waste, including:  requiring agencies to produce audited, corrective action plans with targets to reduce overpayment errors; mandating all agencies that spend more than $1 million to perform recovery audits on all their programs; and penalizing agencies that fail to comply with current accounting and recovery laws. Sen. Carper’s bill adds important language to further strengthen the legislation pertaining to identifying possible fraud and addressing ongoing errors and vulnerabilities in government payment procedures.  These changes were based on recent investigations of recovery auditing by the General Accountability Office (GAO) and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General, which found that recovery audits were useful in identifying and recovering improper payments and in identifying important changes that agencies should make to prevent similar overpayments in the future.