Top Republicans successful nan House are hoping to retrieve billions of dollars successful wasted payer costs by paying states to claw backmost fraudulent COVID-era unemployment benefits that went to scammers alternatively of group successful need.
The measure comes conscionable weeks aft a national watchdog testified that "at least" $191 cardinal was wasted connected clone COVID unemployment claims. That uncovering followed a telephone from President Biden successful his State of nan Union reside to "prosecute criminals who stole alleviation money" during COVID, a motion that nan GOP has a chance of becoming rule this year.
Despite Biden’s call, 1 sponsor of nan bill, House Ways and Means Commtitee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., said nan Biden management has done small to backmost up Biden’s words and that nan Republican House needs to act.
FEDS WASTED ‘AT LEAST’ $191 BILLION ON FAKE COVID UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS, SAYS LABOR DEPARTMENT WATCHDOG
Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., projected a measure aimed astatine recovering mislaid COVID unemployment funds. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
"At a clip erstwhile Americans were suffering from authorities lockdowns, hundreds of billions were being stolen from those successful need," Smith said. "Yet nan Biden Administration has ignored nan rampant personality theft and fraud that’s near these group devastated."
"It has kept itself and nan American group successful nan acheronian astir nan size and scope of unemployment fraud that was stolen during COVID," he said. "House Republicans are now turning connected nan lights aft raising nan siren astir this top theft of taxation dollars successful American history."
Another sponsor, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said COVID theft "may beryllium nan top heist of American payer dollars successful history."
‘NO EVIDENCE' CHINA SURVEILLANCE FLIGHTS WERE USED TO SPREAD COVID, SAYS HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE MEMBER
Republicans opportunity President Biden didn't do capable to extremity COVID unemployment fraud. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The 2 committee chairmen said immoderate estimates opportunity arsenic overmuch arsenic $400 cardinal successful fraudulent unemployment payments whitethorn person been made during nan COVID pandemic, during which astir $900 cardinal successful alleviation payments went out.
Under their bill, authorities workforce agencies that negociate national unemployment benefits would beryllium incentivized to prosecute fraudulent claims – they would support 25% of everything they recover, and fto them usage it astatine nan authorities level to amended unemployment security integrity by hiring fraud investigators, boosting ID verification and different steps.
In early February, nan Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General told Smith’s committee that astatine slightest $191 cardinal successful COVID unemployment benefits were mislaid to fraud, and apt more. That study said COVID created a "perfect storm" for fraud, arsenic group were allowed to self-certify that they were eligible to person Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which went to millions of group who were not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits.
CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK, ILLINOIS USED COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS TO PUSH CRT IN SCHOOLS
A Labor Department watchdog said astatine slightest $191 cardinal was mislaid to fraud. (Tom Williams)
"The reliance solely connected claimant self-certifications without grounds of eligibility and wages during nan program’s first 9 months rendered nan PUA programme highly susceptible to improper payments, including fraud," Inspector General Larry Turner said.
The OIG recovered that nan improper costs complaint for unemployment security was astir 10% earlier COVID but jumped to astir double that during COVID.
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Other witnesses astatine Smith’s committee said authorities workforce agencies weren’t prepared to grip nan unreserved of COVID-related claims, which contributed to fraud.
Pete Kasperowicz is simply a authorities editor astatine Fox News Digital.