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MCCASKILL: NEW LAW WILL HELP CURB WASTE AT FEDERAL AGENCIES

Legislation signed by president today will speed identification and recovery of overpayments by federal agencies

July 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following final approval by the House, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill applauded President Obama for signing into law the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (S.1508). The bill, sponsored by McCaskill, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and four other senators requires federal agencies to identify and recover nearly $100 billion lost annually due to improper federal payments to contractors, organizations and individuals.

"I'm encouraged that this new law will provide for the identification and recovery of billions of dollars lost to improper payments and put the money back in the taxpayers' pockets," said Sen. McCaskill. "As we try to repair the damage that has been done to our economy, now more than ever, we must hold the federal government accountable for every dime it spends.

The legislation provides important tools to address government waste, including:
• requiring agencies to produce audited, corrective action plans with targets to reduce overpayment errors
• mandating that all agencies that spend more than $1 million must perform recovery audits on all their programs
• penalizing agencies that fail to comply with current accounting and recovery laws

Last year alone, federal agencies had $98.5 billion in improper payments. Recent investigations of recovery auditing by the General Accountability Office (GAO) and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General found that recovery audits were useful in identifying and recovering improper payments and in identifying important changes that agencies should make to prevent similar overpayments in the future. By strengthening existing legislation, this law will help improve the process for identifying possible fraud and addressing ongoing errors and vulnerabilities in government payment procedures.

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