Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was signed into law to cut down on billions of dollars in wasteful government spending. The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 will help to rein in improper payments – including duplicative, excessive, unnecessary and improperly documented payments – that are estimated to have cost the federal government more than $151 billion in fiscal year 2018 alone. Peters introduced the legislation last year along with U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN).
“Michiganders work hard for their money – and they deserve to know that the federal government is using their taxpayer dollars responsibly,” said Senator Peters. “I am pleased that the President has signed into law this commonsense, bipartisan bill which will help to prevent billions of dollars in improper spending.”
Improper payments have been a longstanding challenge for the federal government, which has, by its own estimate, spent billions of dollars annually on mistaken payments to individuals and entities, including those who may not have been entitled to receive them. Since 2003, when federal agencies were first required to begin reporting improper payments, the federal government has made an estimated $1.4 trillion in total improper payments.
The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 will modify and restructure existing improper payments laws to help agencies better identify and reduce the amount of money wasted as a result of 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.
As Ranking Member of the Senate’s chief oversight committee, Senator Peters has long sought to rein in wasteful spending and ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Last year, Peters’ bipartisan legislation to streamline the federal inventory review process and save taxpayer money by selling or disposing of excess property or supplies was signed into law by President Trump. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also unanimously approved a Peters-led bill to save millions of taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals.