Bustos, Craig Bill to Tackle Government Waste Passes House

The Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 now heads to the President’s desk for signature

Washington – Today, Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and Angie Craig (MN-02) applauded the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of their bicameral Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 out of the House. This legislation, which passed the Senate last year and will now be sent to the President for signature, would save significant taxpayer dollars by cutting down on government waste in the form of overpayments, underpayments, improperly documented payments or payments made to ineligible recipients. The bill is also cosponsored by Representatives Mark Meadows (NC-11) and Greg Gianforte (MT- At large).

“As members of Congress, we owe it to the American people to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos. “This bipartisan legislation cuts through red tape to protect hard-earned taxpayer dollars and ensure they are not mismanaged or improperly spent. I’m pleased to see this good government bill pass the House today and hope to see it signed into law swiftly.”

“When I came to Congress, I promised I would work across the aisle and seek to reform the way government works,” said Rep. Angie Craig. “I’m proud to have authored the commonsense Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019, and I am thankful for the bi-partisan support for this important legislation. My bill cuts through politics as usual and reforms the government’s oversight of taxpayer dollars. By tackling this waste, we can make room to fund important priorities like special education and fixing our crumbling infrastructure.”

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 more than $1.4 trillion.

Specifically, the Payment Integrity Information Act 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 Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to issue guidance to improve annual reporting on agencies’ compliance with improper payment statutes.
  • Create a working group that will enable federal agencies to collaborate with each other and non-federal, 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.

In addition to the passage of today’s legislation, Congresswoman Bustos has introduced the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased Individuals Act to further protect taxpayer dollars. This bill would allow all federal agencies access to the Death Master File, which is maintained by the Social Security Administration and contains the most complete information on individuals who are reported to have died. Without the most accurate data, federal agencies mistakenly make payments to people who are actually deceased. This commonsense legislation would bring this flawed process to an end and crack down on waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars.

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