Congressman Jim Matheson says a bipartisan measure endorsed by the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition hones in on the problem of wasteful or fraudulent spending by federal agencies. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act (HR 4053) is scheduled for a vote in the House this week.
"According to government auditors, federal agencies made an estimated $115 billion in improper payments in 2011 alone," said Matheson. "This bill requires more scrutiny and tighter procedures before payments are issued in order to attack waste, fraud and abuse. It's a common sense requirement at a time when we're looking for every possible avenue to significantly cut federal spending."
Improper payments result when a federal agency pays too much for a product or service, when payment goes to an ineligible recipient, or when payment is made and no goods or services are received.
Matheson said the legislation requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to identify and report on federal programs at high risk for improper payments and to create a standard method for estimating improper payments. It requires OMB to set annual targets for reducing them and for agencies to share data to monitor and track incidents of abuse. The Senate passed a similar measure in August.