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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

OMB touts progress at reducing improper payments

"Agencies eliminated almost $8 billion in mistaken payments through federal programs during fiscal 2005, carving 17 percent from the previous year's error levels and surpassing a $5 billion strategic goal, the Office of Management and Budget reported last week.

"I applaud the administration for its work to eliminate improper payments," said Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability. "We are starting to see results."

Platts emphasized the role that technology is playing in improving agencies' internal controls, noting that Agriculture's
Food Stamp program has "the lowest error rate in its history, largely because it has employed electronic benefit transfer." Data-matching has helped both HUD and the Labor Department cut down on errors, he said.

The administration's management score card includes a category for eliminating improper payments that encompasses the 15 agencies reporting in fiscal 2005. Four of those agencies -- HUD, the Labor and Veterans Affairs departments and the National Science Foundation -- have achieved "green" status, the highest mark possible on the traffic-light-style rating system. "

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