The House this week approved a handful of bills aimed at improving federal financial management and oversight of government operations. Two of the bills — one requiring the Homeland Security Department to pass a complete financial audit and the other lightening the mandatory caseload of the Government Accountability Office — have already been passed by the Senate and head to the president's desk for his signature.
OMB Controller Danny Werfel announced Wednesday the federal government avoided paying out $47 billion in overpayments over the last three years. This missed President Barack Obama's goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion by the end of FY2012.
Federal News Radio evaluated a total of five initiatives meant to rally federal managers' enthusiasm, expertise and duty as part of the special report, The Obama Impact: Evaluating the Last Four Years. We determined more progress was needed on the administration's performance management and regulation reduction efforts. We called the President's plan to reorganize the Commerce Department a bust but find effective efforts surrounding energy sustainability and cutting waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments.
A chart of the six agencies with the most improper payments in 2011.
The President's Management Advisory Board wants agencies to focus on reducing improper payments and making strategic sourcing mandatory.
Over the last three years, agencies understood the problem better, improved how they tracked the information and used advanced data analysis tools to lower the governmentwide rate to 4.69 percent from 5.42 percent in 2009. While the amount of money improperly paid out hit a high of $125 billion in 2010, Danny Werfel, the Office of Management and Budget's controller, expects it to drop for a second consecutive year, below the $115 billion mark in 2011.
The inspector general for the Social Security Administration estimated the agency is sitting on about $134 million for benefit checks that sit uncashed by recipients for more than a year - money subsequently returned to the agency. But the IG report found most of the recipients who didn't cash their checks are still eligible for the assistance and the SSA could take additional steps to ensure they receive them.
Information regarding a person's death is not always correctly transferred between the Social Security Administration's databases, according to a new report from the agency's inspector general. As a result, various agencies may be sending money to dead people or fraudsters.
The White House launched a new "Do Not Pay" tool on Thursday to prevent improper payments to individuals and companies. Agency heads must submit plans to adopt the tool by June 30.
Jane Oates, the assistant secretary of employment and training administration at DoL, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss details of the department\'s new program.
The Association of Government Accountants recently released recommendations on how federal agencies can cut improper payments as a way to cut costs.
The White House says federal agencies stopped nearly $18 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2011. Danny Werfel, controller at OMB, explained how agencies did it.
Most of the fiscal 2011 reductions came from the departments of Education, Agriculture and Health and Human Services. The administration also announced new steps aimed at improving how agencies use suspension and debarment to deal with unreliable contractors and grant recipients.
The bill builds on a series proposals on improper payments, said Linda Springer, former OMB comptroller.