Friday, July 23, 2010

Obama signs bill to cut misguided federal payments

President Obama on Thursday called on federal agencies to crack down on improper payments made by the government, signing into law a new measure he said would reduce waste and fraud by $50 billion by 2012.

Improper payments, ranging from wholesale fraud to government checks sent to the wrong person or in the wrong amount, totaled $110 billion in 2009 — the highest amount ever.

The "Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act" requires federal agencies to conduct annual risk assessments of programs, expands the types of programs that are subjected to audits, and imposes new penalties and other repercussions on agencies that don't comply. The bill wouldn't require agencies to return recovered funds to the federal treasury, allowing them to use the money for other activities.

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