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Senate Advances Peters & Colleagues’ Bipartisan Bill to Stop Wasteful Government Payments

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently unanimously approved a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) and his colleagues to cut down on millions of dollars in wasteful government spending and improper payments. Peters, who serves as the Ranking Member of the committee, has made good stewardship of taxpayer dollars a top priority in the U.S. Senate. He joined with U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) to introduce the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019.

“Congress is responsible for ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively, and reducing improper payments made by the federal government could save taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure agencies have the tools they need to stop fraud or mistakes, and will push them to implement practical solutions that address the root causes of improper payments. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation and prevent waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in the future.”

In fiscal year 2017 alone, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that improper payments made by the federal government totaled over $141 billion. Since 2003, when agencies were first required to begin reporting improper payments, cumulative improper payment estimates across government have totaled $1.4 trillion. Improper payments can include overpayments, underpayments, payments made to ineligible recipients or payments that were not properly documented.

The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 would modify and restructure existing improper payments laws to help agencies better identify and reduce the amount of money wasted due to improper government payments. The bill requires agencies to develop plans to prevent improper payments from happening in the first place and improve methods for identifying programs that are at the highest risk of improper payments. The bill also creates 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.