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Policy Letter

Senate Considers Legislation to Help Stop Improper Payments

Dear Senators:

I write to you today to express my support for the bipartisan “Payment Integrity Information Act of 2018” (S. 2948). This important bill, which is under consideration by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will curb waste and fraud involving federal payments.

A major portion of potentially wasteful government spending is a category known as “improper payments,” which are payments made in the wrong amount (including both overpayments and underpayments), to the wrong people, or for the wrong reason. An estimate from fiscal year 2016 showed $144 billion in misspending that year—an all-time high. These improper payments result from insufficient financial accountability and can divert dollars from where they are needed. While Congress and some federal agencies have made significant progress in curbing improper payments during the past decade, more needs to be done to stop the practices that lead to the questionable expenditure of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars without proper accountability.

Among the key provisions of the Act, the legislation would:

  • Require agencies to make a more complete estimate of improper payments; more;
  • Focus more agency action toward preventing improper payments;
  • Provide new nation-wide tools to curb payment errors and fraud; and
  • Improve use of data analysis techniques to ferret out improper payments.

Thank you for your consideration of this important legislation. For more information, please feel free to contact Peter Tyler of the Project On Government Oversight ([email protected] or 202-347-1122).


Danielle Brian

Executive Director