the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on Passage of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act in the House of Representatives

“Today, the House took another critical step toward increased fiscal responsibility by passing the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act.  This bipartisan legislation will help save taxpayer dollars by reining in wasteful overpayments from the federal government to individuals, organizations and contractors – the kind of unacceptable accounting mistakes that cost taxpayers $98 billion in 2009.  This bill also puts in place more rigorous thresholds for when programs must be scrutinized for payment errors and expands the authority of Federal agencies to use private sector auditors to find and recapture government overpayments.  And it dramatically increases transparency and accountability in government spending – in short, it changes business-as-usual in Washington.

I believe that we have a special responsibility to be wise stewards of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.  That’s why last November I issued an Executive Order to curb improper payments by boosting transparency, holding agencies accountable, and creating strong incentives for compliance.  And it’s why this March I signed an order calling on all federal agencies to launch tough audits to recover some of the money lost to improper payments last year.  I applaud the House for passing legislation today that supports these goals and I hope that the Senate will take swift action to send a bill to my desk as soon as possible.”