Summary: S.1616 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (12/16/2015)

Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act of 2015

(Sec. 3) This bill requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop a strategy to expand the use of data analytics in managing government purchase and travel charge card programs for the purpose of:

  • identifying examples or patterns of questionable transactions and developing enhanced tools and methods for agency use in identifying questionable purchase and travel card transactions and in recovering improper payments made with purchase and travel cards;
  • identifying potential opportunities for agencies to further leverage administrative process streamlining and cost reduction from purchase and travel card use;
  • developing a set of purchase and travel card metrics and benchmarks for high risk activities, which shall assist agencies in identifying potential emphasis areas for their purchase and travel card management and oversight activities; and
  • developing a plan to create a library of analytics tools and data sources for use by federal agencies.

The bill defines: (1) "questionable transaction" as a charge card transaction that, from initial card data, appears to be high risk and that may be improper; and (2) "strategic sourcing" as analyzing and modifying a federal agency's spending patterns to better leverage its purchasing power, reduce costs, and improve overall performance.

(Sec. 4) The OMB must issue guidance on improving information sharing by government agencies, including by: (1) requiring relevant officials at federal agencies to identify high-risk activities and communicate that information to the appropriate management levels within the agencies; (2) requiring that appropriate officials at federal agencies review the reports issued by charge card-issuing banks on questionable transaction activity, including transactions that occur with high risk activities, and suspicious timing or amounts of cash withdrawals or advances; and (3) providing for the appropriate sharing of information related to potential questionable transactions, fraud schemes, and high risk activities with GSA's Office of Charge Card Management and the appropriate federal agency officials.

(Sec. 5) The GSA and the OMB must establish a purchase and travel charge card data management group to develop and share best practices, which shall: (1) cover rules, edits, and task order or contract modifications related to charge card-issuing banks; and (2) include the review of accounts payable information and purchase and travel card transaction data of agencies for the purpose of identifying potential strategic sourcing and other additional opportunities for which the charge cards or related payment products could be used as a payment method.

(Sec. 6) The GSA shall report to Congress on this Act's implementation, including the metrics used in determining whether the analytic and benchmarking efforts have reduced, or contributed to the reduction of, questionable or improper payments as well as improved utilization of card-based payment products.

Each executive agency that issues and uses purchase cards and convenience checks shall report to the OMB on activities to implement this Act. The OMB shall submit to Congress a consolidated report of agency activities to implement this Act.

The GSA shall report to Congress identifying and exploring further potential savings opportunities for government agencies under the federal charge card programs.