Nov 17 2009
WASHINGTON (Nov. 17, 2009) – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08) made the following statements tonight after learning about White House efforts to stop the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars by federal agencies.
The White House reported that nearly $98 billion of taxpayer money was lost in fiscal year 2009 because of avoidable mistakes.
Sen. Carper said: “I was disappointed – but not surprised – to learn that federal agencies are reporting more than $90 billion in improper payments in the FY09 financial statements filed this week, up from more than $70 billion last year.
“As chairman of the subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, I have held hearings which revealed that agencies were underestimating the amount of money they waste. And, unfortunately, these numbers may still be just the tip of the iceberg since they don’t even include estimates for several major programs, including the Medicare prescription drug plan.”
“Further, this news shows that we have a lot to do here in the federal government when it comes professionalizing financial management and rooting out waste. It goes without saying that these results would be completely unacceptable in the private sector, as they should be in government, especially at a time of record deficits.
“That said, there is a silver lining. More agencies are becoming better at estimating and identifying costly mistakes.
“I applaud the administration’s concrete steps to improve transparency and make agencies and agency leadership more accountable. Still, there is even more we can do. Our bill, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which was also introduced in the House by Rep. Murphy, will take the next steps, especially in requiring that federal agencies recover the billions of dollars in improper payments.”
Rep. Murphy said: “I commend President Obama on his executive order to crack down on the waste, fraud and abuse that results in billions of taxpayer dollars wasted every year. I’m proud to partner with Sen. Carper on this bipartisan legislation, which will bring additional accountability and transparency by holding agencies accountable for failing to reduce improper payments and will expand the use of recovery auditing to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars for hardworking taxpayers.”
Additionally, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2009 (S. 1508 and H.R. 3393) would:
- 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; and
- Include progress in eliminating improper payments to the promotion evaluations of senior federal officials.