Senate Passes Bill on Federal Misuse of Spending

Aug 16, 2017

misuseThe Senate unanimously approved a bill that aims at increasing oversight of federal employees’ use of government travel and spending. The Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act would task the General Services Administration with looking through the government-wide data it already has so it can identify “patterns of potential misuse”.

Currently, the oversight occurs only at the agency level.

The bill would require agencies to share details they found and other information that might help their counterparts locate similar issues.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the bill and said, “By helping agencies better track and analyze card charges, we can curb wasteful spending and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent more wisely and effectively across the federal government.”

This new bill would “make sure we’re looking for similar patterns of misuse across all federal agencies and that agencies are sharing best practices to prevent misuse and identify potential cost savings,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, a co-sponsor of the bill.

Senator Claire McCaskill also supports the bill and thinks it would bring accountability among feds. “I’m glad to have come together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to crack down on federal employees who are losing government dollars for their own personal gain,” she said.

Recently, auditors have found several instances where feds have misused government cards; Defense Department employees in 2015 were found to use their cards to make more than $1 million in purchases at casinos, USPS workers went gambling and bowling, and Forest Service workers used their cards for personal expenses at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores.

The Senate unanimously approved a similar bill in a previous Congress but it never advanced in the House.

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