Summary: H.R.1442 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (08/02/1999)

Government Waste, Fraud, and Error Reduction Act of 1999 - Title I: General Management Improvements - Amends requirements regarding certain Federal agencies' (executive departments as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) audited financial statements, including to: (1) extend the deadline for the preparation and submission of the first of such statements; and (2) provide for submission of such statements to the Congress and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director). (Currently, such statements are to be submitted to the Director.)

(Sec. 102) Excludes lodging provided under Federal travel and subsistence expense provisions from an exception which prohibits agency heads from requiring employees or members of the uniformed services to occupy quarters on a rental basis.

Directs each head of an executive agency to require, with respect to travel by agency employees in the performance of their duties, the use by such employees of travel management centers, authorized travel agents, and electronic reservation and payment systems for the purpose of improving efficiency and economy regarding travel by agency employees. Requires the Administrator of General Services to develop a plan regarding implementation of this requirement and to report to the Congress on such plan and the means by which such agency heads plan to ensure that employees use travel management centers, travel agents, and electronic reservation and payment systems.

Directs the Administrator to develop a mechanism to ensure that employees of executive agencies are not inappropriately charged State and local taxes on travel expenses. Requires the Administrator to report to the Congress on the steps taken and proposed to be taken to carry out such requirement.

Title II: Improving Federal Debt Collection Practices - Makes technical amendments to financial management provisions relating to claims of the U.S. Government, including those that permit a State to collect by administrative offset certain payments under the Social Security Act, Black Lung Benefits Act, or railroad retirement laws for past due child support being enforced by a State.

Sets forth provisions relating to the collection by private collection contractors through the use of garnishment of any debt owed to the United States, including to prohibit a private collection contractor, in attempting to collect through the use of garnishment any such debt, from being precluded from verifying the debtor's current employer, the location of the payroll office of the debtor's current employer, the period the debtor has been employed by the current employer, and the compensation received by the debtor from such employer.

Amends provisions relating to contracts for collection services to authorize the Attorney General to make contracts retaining private counsel to furnish legal services, if appropriate, in the case of any monetary claim, including claims for civil fines or penalties. (Under current law, such contracts are made only in the case of any claim of indebtedness owed the United States.)

(Sec. 202) Bars certain delinquent Federal debtors from being eligible for the award or renewal of any: (1) Federal financial assistance in the form of a loan (other than a disaster loan), loan insurance, or guarantee; or (2) Federal permit or Federal license.

(Sec. 203) Prohibits an executive, judicial, or legislative agency head from discharging a nontax debt or terminating collection action on such a debt unless: (1) it has been referred to a private collection contractor, a debt collection center, or to the Attorney General for litigation; (2) it has been sold without recourse; (3) administrative wage garnishment has been undertaken; or (4) there is bankruptcy, death, or disability. Permits the agency head to waive the application of such requirement with respect to any nontax debt, or class of nontax debts, if the waiver is in the best interest of the United States.

Title III: Sale of Nontax Debts Owed to United States - Allows an executive, judicial, or legislative agency head to sell, using competitive procedures, any nontax debt owed to the United States that is administered by the agency. Specifies that such sales shall: (1) be for cash or cash and a residuary equity, joint venture, or profit participation, if the proceeds will be greater than the proceeds from a sale solely for cash; (2) be without recourse against the United States; and (3) transfer to the purchaser all U.S. rights to demand payment of the debt, other than with respect to a residuary equity, joint venture, or profit participation, but shall not transfer to the purchaser any rights or defenses uniquely available to the United States.

(Sec. 302) Sets forth requirements for the sale of certain: (1) delinquent nontax loans; (2) loans; and (3) nontax debts or class of debts. Permits an agency head to exempt from sale a delinquent debt or loan if such sale is not in the best financial interest of the United States or would interfere with the agency's mission.

Title IV: Treatment of High Value Nontax Debts - Requires each agency head that administers a program that gives rise to a delinquent high value nontax debt (a nontax debt having an outstanding value that exceeds $1 million) to submit an annual report to the Congress that lists each such debt.

(Sec. 402) Requires the Inspector General of each agency to: (1) review such applicable annual report to the Congress and make such recommendations as necessary to improve the agency's performance; (2) periodically review and report to the Congress on the agency's nontax debt collection management practices; and (3) as part of such reviews, examine agency efforts to reduce the aggregate amount of high value nontax debts that are resolved in whole or in part by compromise, default, or bankruptcy.

(Sec. 403) Requires an agency head authorized to collect a delinquent high value nontax debt to promptly seek seizure and forfeiture of assets pledged to the United States in any transaction giving rise to such a debt. Directs an agency, upon determining that seizure or forfeiture is not appropriate, to include a justification for such determination in the annual report.

Title V: Federal Payments - Transfers from the Director to the Secretary responsibility for the prompt payment of proper invoices by Federal agencies.

(Sec. 502) Includes within requirements of the Director's regulations regarding Federal payments that a required payment date may be waived to provide for early payment in cases where an agency will implement an electronic payment technology which improves agency cash management and business practice.

Permits an executive agency head, subject to an agreement between the agency head and the applicable financial institution, to accept an electronic payment, including debit and credit cards, to satisfy a nontax debt owed to the agency.

(Sec. 503) Requires Federal debt collection fees, including fees for offsetting tax refunds to collect Federal debts, to be deposited into the Debt Services Account (to be established pursuant to this Act). Authorizes the Secretary to transfer to such Account balances in existing accounts into which Federal debt collection fees have been deposited.

Title VI: Federal Property - Amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to repeal the termination date for the authority for the Administrator of the General Services Administration to transfer or convey to State and local governments certain surplus real and related personal property for law enforcement or emergency management response purposes.