Obama Signs 'Improper Payments' Legislation

July 22, 2010 - 3:36 PM
President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to slash by $50 billion the taxpayer money improperly paid to dead people, fugitives and those in jail who shouldn't be getting benefits.
Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to slash by $50 billion the taxpayer money improperly paid to dead people, fugitives and those in jail who shouldn't be getting benefits.
 
But that goal, if achieved, would not even halve the $110 billion made in such payments last year.
 
The new law will strengthen the efforts by federal agencies to halt the flow of improper money in a series of ways. Among those steps: requiring more audits of programs and adding penalties for agencies that don't comply with the law. The legislation also broadens how any recovered money can be used.
 
Obama chose to sign the bill in front of cameras in the White House's State Dining Room in hopes of bringing attention to the new law. He announced a goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion by 2012; the White House says that last year's total of nearly $110 billion in these payments was the highest ever.
 
The president said the ultimate to goal is to end all improper payments.
 
"We have to challenge a status quo that accepts billions of dollars in waste as the cost of doing business," the president said.