WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Hon. Gene L. Dodaro about improper payments to deceased people during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Wednesday. The government’s payments to deceased individuals routinely waste millions of taxpayer dollars.
Earlier this year, Sen. Kennedy introduced the bipartisan Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee advanced the bill in May. Sens. Kennedy and Carper’s bill will give all necessary federal agencies access to the Social Security Administration’s federal database of reported deceased individuals for comparison with their records to catch payments that shouldn’t be made.
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full questioning.
Sen. Kennedy on the fraud taking place: “I understand making a mistake in terms of a payment. But we’re paying dead people for God’s sake, and they’ve been dead a long time. Now I’ve seen dead people vote but never cash a check.”
Sen. Kennedy on lack of accountability: “It’s easier to divorce your spouse than fire someone around here. It just seems to be me, within the parameters of the law, that some people ought to be fired over this. I mean how can you defend paying a dead man?”
Hon. Dodaro on the cultural problem in government: “The only time people in the agencies get into trouble is for not paying somebody. If somebody is not paid and they’re not paid on time, so the incentives are to do that, not to make sure that you double check eligibility and that you match records and things of that nature.”