Congressman Cuellar Fights $144.3 Billion in Government Waste

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Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28)

Texas Border Business

Common Sense Laws Target Wastes of Taxpayer Money

WASHINGTON – Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) has moved to improve government efficiency and save taxpayer money, by ordering multiple agencies to reduce unnecessary printing, avoid improper payments that last year wasted $144.3 billion, and collect fines in a timely manner.

Paperwork Reduction: In the recent Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which funded the federal government for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year, Congressman Cuellar ordered many federal bodies – including the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, State, Interior, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Justice, as well as NASA and the National Science Foundation – to reduce printing and reproduction costs. Each Department and agency will have to report to Congress about their efforts in these areas, including how much taxpayer money is saved. Congressman Cuellar will share the results of those reports with the public.

Improper Payments: He also ordered an effort across the federal government to eliminate improper payments, which includes payments incorrectly distributed to deceased persons, accidental overpayment, and other errors that cost taxpayers money. In fiscal year 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported $144.3 billion in improper payments, an increase from fiscal year 2015’s $136.7 billion. Cuellar directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to specifically target the issue of payments to deceased persons, and to report to Congress within 120 days on their progress.

FCC Fines: Finally, he also ordered the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to submit a report on the status of efforts to track and collect fines. He expressed concern that the FCC is not collecting fines in a timely manner, and therefore missing an important source of revenue.

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Congressman Cuellar’s Thoughts: “Improper payments, excessive printing, and other wasteful practices can really add up over time,” explained Congressman Cuellar. “Improper payments alone lost $144.3 billion in taxpayer money in 2016, and while some of that was returned, most was not. Estimates put government printing costs at close to $3 billion annually; there is certainly an opportunity to cut that down. I introduced these common sense measures to save taxpayer money and make government work more efficiently for the American people.”