WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos introduced the Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act. Government purchase cards accounted for $19 billion in goods, services, and office supplies for federal agencies, but like personal credit cards, they are vulnerable to criminals, fraudsters, and improper use by agency employees.
“Just like the credit cards in everyone’s wallet, government charge cards are also vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “Taxpayers deserve to know that their hard-earned dollars are being handled responsibly and I’m committed to fighting for them. This legislation takes a practical approach to saving federal dollars by enforcing accountability and oversight across the federal government. By cutting waste, fraud and abuse, we will make government work better for all Americans.”
The bill would:
- Establish Federal-Wide Charge Card Analysis and Oversight. The legislation directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to review its existing database of charge card purchases of federal agencies for patterns of potential misuse. Under existing law, individual agencies must establish certain types of control and oversight over charge card usage, but only the GSA has government-wide data that can reveal patterns agencies might miss on their own. Under this bill, GSA would assist agencies by conducting sophisticated, federal-wide analysis of the data for potential waste and fraud.
- Help Agencies Share Information and Best Practices. Federal agencies do not routinely share information about the use and abuse of charge cards. As a result, agencies might not learn and/or establish best practices to address spending issues. Under the bill, agencies would share with each other information about fraud schemes, high-risk sellers, and other information that might help prevent charge card abuse and fraud.
- Support Strategic Sourcing. The sharing and analysis of charge card data helps agencies better leverage federal purchasing power through what is often called “strategic sourcing.” This analysis helps to determine when agencies are purchasing numerous amounts of an item with purchase cards that could be bought in a more cost-effective manner, such as with negotiated discounts.
A Senate companion bill, S. 1099, was introduced earlier this year by Senators Carper and Grassley.
The bill is supported by a diverse group of organizations, including:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Coalition to Reduce Spending
National Taxpayers Union
Project On Government Oversight
Taxpayers Protection Alliance