May 22, 2024
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  • The Daily Signal: Bipartisan Proposals Would Hold Presidents Accountable for ‘Improper’ Payments

    Last week, the House Budget Committee ordered reported two pieces of bipartisan legislation aimed at reining in improper payments within the federal government. 

    Improper payments pose an immense threat to the fiscal state of this nation. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), improper payments are “payments that should not have been made or were made in the incorrect amount.” Since reporting began in 2003, the federal government has made $2.7 trillion in improper payments.

    Making matters worse, the true total is likely much higher, as the government continues to lack complete, reliable, or accurate estimates of improper payments.

    H.R. 8342the “Improper Payments Transparency Act,” led by Budget Process Reform Chairman Rep. Rudy Yakym (R-IN), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), and H.R. 8343, the “Enhancing Improper Payment Accountability Act,” led by Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), will improve transparency and accountability in improper payment reporting and will support agencies, authorizers, and appropriators in identifying and reducing this waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending.

    Word on the Street: 

    • “A set of bipartisan proposals introduced in Congress seeks to impose accountability on—and ultimately rein in—the federal government’s massive and rising improper payments.”

    • “According to a March 2024 GAO report, the federal government issued at least $236 billion in improper payments last year... That’s more than the entire government spending of many countries, including Denmark, Israel, Switzerland, and South Africa.”

    • 6.3% of federal government payments issued improperly, that’s equivalent to a typical household’s spending $4,600 on improper payments, out of an annual budget of $73,000.”

    • “With the federal government spending over $28,000 per household per year in transfer payments, and almost $1,800 of that amounting to improper payments, American taxpayers deserve better.”

    • “Massive, and generally rising, improper payments from the government reveal a major lack of integrity and accountability in agencies’ use of taxpayers’ money. The numbers reveal an even larger problem because of the massive explosion in size and scope of the federal government.”

    • “Policymakers should confront unsustainable national debt and budget deficits by restoring power and money to Americans. Every dollar taken out of the federal budget and restored to the budgets of American households will reap multifold returns.”

    The Bottom Line: 

    These bills are only the first step in the House Budget Committee’s efforts to address improper payments through the legislative process, as outlined in the concurrent resolution on the budget, which was ordered and reported by the Committee to the House of Representatives this past March.

    The FY 2025 “Reverse the Curse” Budget Resolution supports policies to enhance program integrity and combat waste, fraud, and abuse, including increased reporting requirements, improved data sharing, enhanced identity and eligibility verification, and proactive incentives for states to invest in preventive measures.

    A significant component of reversing the curse of public debt is ensuring the government doesn’t waste federal funds in the first place. Led by Chairman Arrington, the House Budget Committee is committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and restoring public trust in the government’s fiscal management.

    More from the House Budget Committee on Budget Process Reform: 

    Read more about the improper payments legislative package HERE

    Read Chairman Arrington’s Op-Ed in The Hill on improper payments HERE.

    Read Chairman Arrington’s statement on the first government-wide fraud estimate report HERE.  

    Read Chairman Arrington and Chairman Comer’s statement on GAO’s improper payments report HERE.

    Read more about improper payment statistics for FY 2023 HERE

    Read more about Improper Payments HERE.