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Mr. MURPHY of New York. Mr. Chairman, as a small businessman, I'm deeply concerned with our Nation's fiscal mismanagement. In fact, we've now learned that in fiscal year 2009, Federal agencies were estimated to have made nearly $98 billion in improper payments. You don't have to be a Democrat or a Republican to know that this is just unacceptable. It's just common sense.
My simple amendment to this bill reiterates that all the funds authorized in this act must be spent in compliance with the manual on Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the executive branch.
As Members of Congress, it's our duty to allocate taxpayer dollars in a measured and responsible way, and we all know that Congress must do more to rein in wasteful spending. However, it is also our responsibility to make sure that the money we allocate is spent appropriately by the Federal agencies.
Sadly, we're far too accustomed to reports of Federal dollars being used inappropriately. Just recently, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General issued a report noting that $247,000 in improper expenses were charged to FEMA credit cards.
These examples highlight the need for Congress to be vigilant in its oversight of Federal agencies and to hold the agencies accountable and to create a system in which waste, fraud and abuse are eliminated. Yesterday, the House took an important step toward this goal when it passed legislation to identify, reduce, and eliminate improper payments, as well as recover lost funds that Federal agencies have spent improperly.
In that same spirit, my amendment today is intended to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that Federal employees, in this case FEMA employees, spend Federal moneys properly and on their intended purpose, with only the best interests of the taxpayer.
I urge my fellow Members to support this amendment as well as the underlying bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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