A picture of Representative Spencer Bachus
Spencer B.
Former Republican AL 6
About Rep. Spencer
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    Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

    by Former Representative Spencer Bachus

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2013. Allow me to thank Chairman Ryan for his hard work in producing this important agreement. It is my belief that we must begin to address our debt and deficit problem on a bipartisan basis.

    To that end, I would like to briefly discuss Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. This section establishes a program under which the Secretary of Commerce restricts access to the information contained in the Death Master File for a three-year period beginning on the date of the individual's death, except to persons who are certified under a program to be established by the Secretary of Commerce.

    The purpose of this provision of the law is to prevent misuse of the Death Master File that leads to waste, fraud and abuse committed against the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies. The law is designed to achieve this purpose by restricting access to information contained in the Death Master File for three years after the date of a person's death. In fact, my office has been contacted by a woman who has been struggling with basic functions of life such as opening a bank account or obtaining a driver's license because the Death Master File proclaims her dead when she is in fact alive. It is my firm belief that in addition to this step the Social Security Administration must improve its systems to ensure that death information is accurately updated on the Death Master File.

    At the same time, the law also is designed to ensure that persons, companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and other types of entities continue to have access to the DMF in order to facilitate legitimate commerce and business purposes.

    The law requires the Department of Commerce to set up a program to certify entities that are permitted access to the Death Master File. The intent is that the certification criteria contained in the law encompass the range of important functions that the DMF helps to facilitate.

    The use of the Death Master File has important purposes such as preventing fraud, authenticating individuals, and preventing unauthorized transactions. Using the Death Master File for these important purposes helps to protect consumers from fraud and identity theft. Businesses and government agencies need access to the Death Master File to carry out these and other legitimate responsibilities.

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