|March 8, 2000 |
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1827, which would reduce overpayments in government programs by requiring Federal agencies to conduct recovery audits of their internal payment records. The Administration supports this concept and endorsed the bill last year. If fully implemented, the bill would save at least $100 million in collection of erroneous payments.
However, the Administration has the following concerns with the amendment in the nature of a substitute that would be made in order by the proposed rule. The Administration opposes amendments that would automatically exempt payments related to specific programs from being subject to recovery audits. The bill would provide the Office of Management and Budget sufficient authority to exempt an executive agency, in whole or in part, from the requirement to conduct recovery audits if the Director determines that compliance with this requirement would either impede the agency's mission or not be cost-effective. This authority would be sufficient to protect the Government's interest without carving out specific statutory exemptions that could automatically eliminate broad categories of overpayments from the scrutiny of recovery audits.
The Administration also opposes amendments that would: (1) prohibit the use of contingency payments to a recovery audit contractor; such a provision would undermine the act by prohibiting the conventional method of payment for this type of debt collection activity; and (2) expand the scope of coverage of recovery audits beyond audits of agencies' internal payment records.
In addition, the Administration recommends modifying the bill's requirements to maintain the current framework for determining the circumstances under which public-private cost comparisons are required. Finally, the Administration recommends clarifying the bill to ensure that its enactment will not limit or otherwise affect the authority of the General Services Administration to conduct transportation post-payment audits.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on these and other issues related to this legislation.