Senate Finance to examine improper federal payments

The Senate Finance Committee will take a deeper look next Thursday at improper payments from three key federal programs – Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Finance Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE said those three programs were responsible for roughly three-quarters of the almost $125 billion in improper federal payments in fiscal 2014. 

Gene Dodaro, the head of the Government Accountability Office, which looked into the number of improper payments, will appear at the Oct. 1 hearing. The hearing is scheduled for the day after the current deadline that lawmakers face for funding the government.

“Every single taxpayer dollar that is misallocated takes precious resources away from programs meant to serve our nation's most vulnerable,” Hatch said in a statement. 

“Congress owes it to taxpayers and beneficiaries to address fragmentation, overlap and duplication in the federal bureaucracy that lead to improper payments on a bipartisan basis, and this hearing will give Committee members the opportunity to examine solutions to do so.” 

The Earned Income Tax Credit, which is aimed at helping the working poor, has been one of the few areas of potential agreement between the two parties on tax policy.

President Obama and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE (R-Wis.), for instance, have both sounded interested in expanding the tax credit. But Republicans have also long said they're worried about the current amount of fraud in the program.