Press Releases

Carper Bill Advances To Reduce, Recover Federal Payment Errors

Bill Saves Taxpayer Dollars by Preventing Improper Payments, Collecting Back Payments

Jul 30 2008

WASHINGTON – A bill by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) that would save billions of taxpayer dollars by making federal agencies more efficient and effective crossed an important congressional hurdle today.

After holding six congressional oversight hearings, Sen. Carper, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, introduced in January the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (S. 2583) as part of his continued efforts to eliminate new and recover old federal overpayments.

“The new president taking office in a few short months will be faced with a growing deficit, and many national and international concerns that will be a further strain on our finances,” said Sen. Carper. “It is more important than ever that we be smart and responsible using taxpayer dollars – that that is what my legislation does by identifying and eliminating improper payments throughout all federal agencies.”

Improper payments occur when a federal agency pays too much or pays twice for a product or service. These improper payments may occur as a result of fraud or from poor financial management systems that do not detect or prevent mistakes before federal dollars are misspent. Federal agencies lost at least $55 billion in taxpayer dollars last year alone by making avoidable mistakes.

The bill was approved today by the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.  Sen. Carper hopes it will win full congressional approval before the end of this session of Congress.

Sen. Carper’s legislation, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, will:

   - Improve transparency by lowering the improper payments reporting threshold so more agencies must report more waste, which in turn, better informs the public about federal financial management problems and helps Congress find ways to prevent these overpayment problems.
   - Require agencies to produce audited corrective action plans with targets to reduce payment 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.