Carper: Agencies Wasted Billions Making Improper Payments

Reintroduces Bill to Prevent Improper Payments, Collect Back Payments

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today stressed that federal agencies lost billions in taxpayer dollars last year alone by making avoidable mistakes, as he reintroduced his Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act to correct this growing cause of government waste.
As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, Sen. Carper has held numerous hearings to identify and eliminate wasteful, unnecessary government spending that is now estimated at $72 billion.
“For months now, people across the country have been tightening their belts and accounting for every dollar they spend. It is long past time that the federal government did the same,” said Sen. Carper. “At a time when every dollar matters, we in Congress have got to make sure hard-earned tax dollars go where they are most needed.”
Improper payments occur when federal funds go to the wrong recipient, when a recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds, when funds are used in an improper manner, or when documentation is not available to explain why a payment was made in the first place. 
“In essence, agencies took $72 billion in taxpayer dollars last year and wasted them. Those federal funds could have been spent to promote energy independence or to improve education and health care. They could have even been given back to middle class families and small businesses through tax cuts. Instead, we can’t be certain that taxpayers got anything useful for that $72 billion,” said Sen. Carper.
The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act will:
  – Improve transparency by lowering the improper payments threshold so more agencies must report more waste, which in turn, better informs the public about its taxpayer dollars and helps Congress find ways to fix these overpayment problems.
  – Require agencies to produce audited, corrective action plans with targets to reduce overpayment errors.
  – Increase the recovery of these massive overpayments by requiring all agencies that spend more than $1 million to perform recovery audits on all their programs.
  – Penalize agencies that fail to comply with current improper accounting and recovery laws.
Sen. Carper introduced similar legislation last year.