House approves improper payment legislation

The House approved a bill on Wednesday requiring the government to recover nearly $100 billion of taxpayer dollars lost annually due to improper payments.

The chamber approved the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., by voice vote. The bill, which now heads to a vote in the Senate, would mandate greater oversight of improper payments and penalize agencies that consistently fail to fix accounting mistakes.

"I am proud to pass this bill to ensure we cut down on wasteful government spending," Murphy said.

The legislation would require agencies to perform recovery audits on all their programs and to produce corrective action plans with targets to reduce overpayment errors.

Improper payments are defined as money going to the wrong recipient; an incorrect amount going to a recipient; funds used in an improper manner; or missing documentation explaining why a payment was made.

The bill stems from an April 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office that found an estimated $72 billion in federal improper payments in fiscal 2008 -- roughly 4 percent of the $1.8 trillion of documented outlays for those related programs. The watchdog discovered the figure actually should be higher, but some programs were not tracked adequately.

The White House on Wednesday released a statement praising the House for approving the bill.

The Senate will consider its version of the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. The bill has support from Republicans, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

"The sooner we pass this legislation the more taxpayer money we can save," Carper said on Wednesday.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.