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Mick M.
Republican SC 5

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  • Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015

    by Representative Mick Mulvaney

    Posted on 2015-12-07

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    MULVANEY. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (S. 614) to provide access to and use of information by Federal agencies in order to reduce improper payments, and for other purposes.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: S. 614 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015''.

    SEC. 2. AVAILABILITY OF THE DO NOT PAY INITIATIVE TO THE JUDICIAL AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES AND STATES.

    Section 5 of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (31 U.S.C. 3321 note) is amended-- (1) in subsection (b)(3)-- (A) in the paragraph heading, by striking ``by agencies''; (B) by striking ``For purposes'' and inserting the following: ``(A) In general.--For purposes''; and (C) by adding at the end the following: ``(B) Other entities.--States and any contractor, subcontractor, or agent of a State, and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States (as defined in paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively, of section 202(e) of title 18, United States Code), shall have access to, and use of, the Do Not Pay Initiative for the purpose of verifying payment or award eligibility for payments (as defined in section 2(g)(3) of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (31 U.S.C. 3321 note)) when, with respect to a State, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget determines that the Do Not Pay Initiative is appropriately established for that State and any contractor, subcontractor, or agent of the State, and, with respect to the judicial and legislative branches of the United States, when the Director of the Office of Management and Budget determines that the Do Not Pay Initiative is appropriately established for the judicial branch or the legislative branch, as applicable.

    ``(C) Consistency with privacy act of 1974.--To ensure consistency with the principles of section 552a of title 5, United States [[Page H9019]] Code (commonly known as the `Privacy Act of 1974'), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may issue guidance that establishes privacy and other requirements that shall be incorporated into Do Not Pay Initiative access agreements with States, including any contractor, subcontractor, or agent of a State, and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States.''; and (2) in subsection (d)(2)-- (A) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``and'' after the semicolon; (B) in subparagraph (C), by striking the period at the end and inserting ``; and''; and (C) by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following: ``(D) may include States and their quasi-government entities, and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States (as defined in paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively, of section 202(e) of title 18, United States Code) as users of the system in accordance with subsection (b)(3).''.

    SEC. 3. IMPROVING THE SHARING AND USE OF DATA BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO CURB IMPROPER PAYMENTS.

    The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (31 U.S.C. 3321 note) is amended-- (1) in section 5(a)(2), by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following: ``(A) The death records maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security.''; and (2) by adding at the end the following: ``SEC. 7. IMPROVING THE USE OF DATA BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR CURBING IMPROPER PAYMENTS.

    ``(a) Prompt Reporting of Death Information by the Department of State and the Department of Defense.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense shall establish a procedure under which each Secretary shall, promptly and on a regular basis, submit information relating to the deaths of individuals to each agency for which the Director of the Office of Management and Budget determines receiving and using such information would be relevant and necessary.

    ``(b) Guidance to Agencies Regarding Data Access and Use for Improper Payments Purposes.-- ``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the heads of other relevant Federal, State, and local agencies, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations, as appropriate, shall issue guidance regarding implementation of the Do Not Pay Initiative under section 5 to-- ``(A) the Department of the Treasury; and ``(B) each agency or component of an agency-- ``(i) that operates or maintains a database of information described in section 5(a)(2); or ``(ii) for which the Director determines improved data matching would be relevant, necessary, or beneficial.

    ``(2) Requirements.--The guidance issued under paragraph (1) shall-- ``(A) address the implementation of subsection (a); and ``(B) include the establishment of deadlines for access to and use of the databases described in section 5(a)(2) under the Do Not Pay Initiative.''.

    SEC. 4. DATA ANALYTICS.

    Section 5 of the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (31 U.S.C. 3321 note), is amended by adding at the end the following: ``(h) Report on Improper Payments Data Analysis.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit to Congress a report which shall include a description of-- ``(1) data analytics performed as part of the Do Not Pay Business Center operated by the Department of the Treasury for the purpose of detecting, preventing, and recovering improper payments through preaward, postaward prepayment, and postpayment analysis, which shall include a description of any analysis or investigations incorporating-- ``(A) review and data matching of payments and beneficiary enrollment lists of State programs carried out using Federal funds for the purposes of identifying eligibility duplication, residency ineligibility, duplicate payments, or other potential improper payment issues; ``(B) review of multiple Federal agencies and programs for which comparison of data could show payment duplication; and ``(C) review of other information the Secretary of the Treasury determines could prove effective for identifying, preventing, or recovering improper payments, which may include investigation or review of information from multiple Federal agencies or programs; ``(2) the metrics used in determining whether the analytic and investigatory efforts have reduced, or contributed to the reduction of, improper payments or improper awards; and ``(3) the target dates for implementing the data analytics operations performed as part of the Do Not Pay Business Center''.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Mulvaney) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from South Carolina.

    General Leave Mr. MULVANEY. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from South Carolina? There was no objection.

    Mr. MULVANEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, this is a Senate bill that we take up today, but there has actually been a House bill that is almost exactly the same for the last year or so.

    The story behind how this bill comes to the floor is one of those stories that should make folks confident that the system can work. I was on a Facebook townhall meeting about a year and a half ago and got a question from one of the constituents about all the money that they have heard the government wastes by paying the wrong people, paying dead people, or paying people way too much money.

    I remember it specifically, Mr. Speaker, because shortly after that, my uncle passed away. When my uncle passed away, I was named executor of his estate. It was the first time I have ever been the executor of an estate. One of the things I remember was that I got a notice 10 days after he had died, very shortly--2 weeks--from the Social Security Administration saying: You are going to get another check for your uncle. Don't cash it or else you can be in a lot of trouble.

    I thought that was really neat. Here is a Federal agency that is actually doing its job in very short order and very efficiently. And I filed that away.

    A couple months later, Mr. Speaker, my good friend from North Carolina (Mr. Meadows), who is the subcommittee chairman of the Government Operations on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was having a hearing about all of these payments that we are not supposed to be making. I had a chance to ask some questions, and I told that story to the government witnesses from the executive branch who were there. I said: Look, how is it that this works so well in the Social Security Administration, but we have all these tales of all these improper payments going to other people? They said: Well, Mr. Congressman, that is because the Social Security Administration has a really, really good database, and they process the information very well when folks die.

    I asked what I thought was a relatively straightforward question: Why don't they share the information with the other Federal agencies? That was the genesis of this bill. What we set out to try and do is try and take circumstances, take examples of where the Federal Government actually does its job well and use that as a model that can be shared by other parts of the government.

    Mr. Speaker, the bill, by the way, that we are talking about is S. 614. There was a House version of it that I worked off of, just because I am a little bit more familiar with it. It is H.R. 2320. The language is almost exactly the same.

    I want to thank Mrs. Bustos, Mr. Connolly, and also Mr. Carter of Georgia and Mr. Westmoreland of Georgia, who are the original cosponsors of this.

    Mr. Speaker, the bill does two very specific, large things and one small thing. It expands that Social Security database. So it takes this, again, this example of something that actually works the way that it is supposed to, and lets other folks use the information.

    What does that mean? States will now be able to use it. State contractors will now be able to gain access to it. The judicial branch will be able to gain access to it, and the legislative branch will as well.

    So the example is that this really good information is not being shared broadly throughout governments--local, State, and Federal--and we are seeking to fix that in the bill.

    The other thing the bill does is to expand what is called the Do Not Pay portal. This is a database that is managed by the United States Department of the Treasury and contains, again, [[Page H9020]] really good information about who has passed away, how much money people should be receiving, who has moved, and who is entitled to benefits and who is not.

    By the way, there is a third thing that the bill does, Mr. Speaker. It seems inevitable that we cannot pass a bill here without asking for a report that goes along with it. But I think it is probably common sense to say that at some point in the future, we would like the Treasury to tell us if it is actually working.

    It is not very often, Mr. Speaker, that I come up here and tell you that there are examples of the Federal Government doing its job well; but when we do find those examples, I am very happy to get up and admit it. As a small government, conservative Republican, ordinarily I am the one that says government never does anything right; but here, actually, parts and parcels of the Federal Government are doing their job well. If we can take that example, take that model and expand it to other parts of the government, we would actually have a chance to solve what is a real problem.

    We spent about $125 billion last year on improper payments, payments to people who should not have received it, payments to people who have passed away, or payments to people in the wrong amount--$125 billion. We just had a major fight on this floor 2 weeks ago over spending $80 billion extra in the budget bill, yet we spend that much, half again, on improper payments every single year. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing line items in our budget. That $125 billion represents a 15 percent increase over the previous year. One of the fastest growing areas of our government is improper payments.

    So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank Mrs. Bustos, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Carter of Georgia, and Mr. Westmoreland in the House for helping bring this bill to the floor. Also, I want to thank Senator Carper from Delaware and Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin for shepherding it through the Senate.

    This is their bill that we are taking. I guess that is another inevitability, that, if the Senate has the same bill as the House does, the Senate gets all the credit. But sometimes it is interesting to see what you can actually accomplish around here, Mr. Speaker, if you don't worry about who gets the credit.

    I do want to thank the folks who took the time and the effort to shepherd this very sound, well-considered, and bipartisan bill to the floor today.

    Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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