Washington, DC –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today continued his work to reduce the deficit by helping pass legislation that will eliminate nearly $100 billion a year in improper government payments that result from poor oversight by federal agencies. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act passed by a wide bipartisan margin and was sent to the President this afternoon.

“Taxpayers need and deserve a responsive, efficient government,” said Himes. “Families would never overpay their own electric bill, and their government needs to guard the taxpayers’ check book with the same vigilance.”

According to the Office of Management and Budget, federal agencies made an estimated $98 billion dollars in improper payments during Fiscal Year 2009. This law will require federal agencies to take action to reduce this wasteful spending. It includes measures that lower the threshold for reporting improper payments, increase audits to hold agencies accountable, and make top agency managers responsible for reducing improper payments. 

Eliminating and recovering improper payments is yet another example of Himes’ continued commitment to deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility. Last winter, Himes took a stand against Democratic spending and voted against a $75 billion extension of the stimulus. This spring, Himes announced he would only support a federal budget that reduced spending by at least one percent. When rumors circulated that congressional leadership was planning to begin the appropriations process without a budget, Himes and a group of other freshman lawmakers wrote to the Speaker to urge the adoption of a budget before beginning spending. Himes has repeatedly crossed party lines to vote in favor of cuts to unnecessary and duplicative programs and was a cosponsor of the Pay-As-You-Go Act, which President Obama signed into law earlier this year.