WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The legislation aims to cut down on government waste and improper payments made by the federal government – including overpayments, underpayments, payments made to ineligible recipients or payments that were not properly documented.

“As a former entrepreneur who left Main Street to help President Trump drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, I’m proud to spearhead the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 which will reduce billions of dollars of improper payments from the federal government,” said Senator Braun.

“At a time when our country is facing record debt and deficits, it is simply unacceptable that federal agencies continue to waste billions of dollars through improper payments. As elected officials, one of our most important responsibilities is to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we know that we can and must be doing better on that front,” said Senator Carper. “That’s why, for years, I have worked to make it a priority across the federal government to root out and eliminate billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Today, I’m proud that my bipartisan bill to take the common sense steps necessary to reduce improper payments has advanced out of the Senate. We’re now one step closer to getting this bill signed into law, and I hope we can do so quickly in order to better safeguard taxpayer dollars.”

“I’m pleased to see the Senate unanimously approve this legislation to streamline the law so federal agencies can better identify the root causes of wasteful spending and work to end it,” said Senator Johnson, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Improper payments by the federal government cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the bureaucratic processes put in place to reduce these errors have not worked.”

“Taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be used wisely, but the federal government has struggled to rein in an estimated $151 billion in wrongful payments,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I’m pleased that the Senate has approved our practical, bipartisan solution to help prevent improper payments, fraud, and waste so we can focus on ensuring taxpayer dollars are used to effectively serve the American people.”

In FY2018 alone, the Government Accountability Office estimated that improper payments throughout the federal government totaled over $151 billion. Since 2003, when agencies were first directed to begin reporting improper payments, cumulative improper payment estimates across government have totaled over $1.4 trillion. For fiscal year 2018, which is the most recent data available, federal entities estimated about $151 billion in improper payments, an unacceptably high number which has increased over the last several fiscal years.

Specifically, the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 would:

  – Require agencies to undertake additional efforts and develop plans to prevent improper payments before they happen.
  –  Improve the way agencies identify programs with the highest risk of improper payments.
  – Require the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to issue guidance to improve annual reporting on agencies’ compliance with improper payments statutes.
  –  Create 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.  

Read a copy of the Senators’ legislation here.