Government waste watchdog: Dead people will get checks under Democrats $1.9 trillion “stimulus”

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WASHINGTON, DC- On December 27, 2020, Congress approved a $900 billion “stimulus” package which was signed into law by former President Trump.

More recently, Congress, through the undemocratic process called “reconciliation” passed an additional $1.9 trillion package.

Add that to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the government has approved $5 trillion in COVID-19 relief. Oh, this will end well.

Remember this when a gallon of milk costs $10 a gallon.

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported in June 2020 that over 160 million economic impact payments had been made totaling around $2.6 trillion from government agencies, by both the IRS and the Department of the Treasury.

One little problem…the GAO noted that according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, nearly 1.1 million payments totaling $1.4 billion had been paid out to DEAD people.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) issued a report on their WasteWatcher Blog on August 14, 2020 in which they said that “after the GAO recommended that the IRS use the Master Death File to update its records and avoid improper payments, the agency failed to use this seven-year-old system to make sure the stimulus checks did not go to deceased individuals.”

As Biden gets ready to dole out a portion of the $1.9 trillion in aid once again to the American people, the problem has apparently not been resolved.

On January 11, 2021, the IRS issued a statement regarding the additional $600 payments under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, stating:

“Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed, or is no longer active, or unfamiliar”

CAGW noted that the continuing problems with sending checks to dead people could have been avoided. On June 30, 2020, the Senate passed S. 4104, the aptly-named Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act.

Under that legislation, the Social Security Administration would be allowed “to share its full file of death information (including State death data) with the Department of Treasury for the purposes of operating its Do Not Pay (DNP) working system and administering its Economic Income Payments (EIPs).”

The legislation would “allow the SSA to provide its complete death information to federal and state agencies that provide benefits funded by the federal government,” CAGW said.

According to Tom Schatz, president of CAGW, “[T]he problem that caused the money to go to these people last time has not been fixed, and it’s a relatively simple fix.

The Social Security Administration has what’s called the master death file. It is not shared with the Internal Revenue Service, it is shared with other agencies, but not the one where you would really want it to be shared, which is the IRS.”

However, the House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) failed to take up the Senate bill, which means that improper payments will continue to be made by the Treasury and other federal agencies not only to deceased people, but also others who are ineligible to receive such payments.

CAGW is calling on Biden to urge Congress to pass S. 4104 in order to give the American people some confidence that billions more in COVID-19 economic impact payments, as well as other programs are not given to deceased individuals.

Schatz explained to John Solomon’s Just The News that the payments are based on previously filed tax returns.

“So if somebody paid taxes two years ago, or last year, and has now passed away, that check is going to show up,” he said.

“And of course, there’s fraud related to that as well, people keeping the names of their deceased relatives or parents or siblings and just collecting checks, and they would qualify too, unfortunately.”

The issue is nothing new. Schatz said that going all the way back to 2009, nearly 90,000 erroneous stimulus payments were sent either to incarcerated or dead people at the time.

“It’s not just the stimulus checks, it’s other payments that go to people who are deceased, because again, they don’t have a complete and full accounting of information not just at the federal level, but sometimes states have information that doesn’t get up to the federal level about people who have passed away as well,” he said. It’s a matter of management—mismanagement really.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is an organization designed to “eliminate waste, mismanagement and inefficiency in government.”

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Back in December, we reported on Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz slamming Congress over the $900 billion stimulus plan. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

WASHINGTON, DC- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was one of only a handful of senators who voted against the so-called $900 billion coronavirus “stimulus” which was tied into an omnibus spending bill that brought the total price to over $2 trillion.

This past Wednesday on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Paul doubled down on his criticism of the behemoth bill.

 

Two days prior, Paul spoke on the Senate floor and slammed the bill as a “spending monstrosity” while telling fellow Republicans they were “no better” than the socialist Democrats supporting the bill.

On Wednesday, Paul called the bill “a bunch of socialist spending,” while adding that both Republicans and Democrats “are bankrupting” the United States, Breitbart reported.

“The problem is if we were to get more money to Americans we would add it on top,” Paul said.

“If it were either-or, it would be a little bit different situation, but from experience in Washington, these jokers never replace spending. I’ve asked for it all along.

“Like, I’ve asked look if you want to build infrastructure in our country, quit spending $50 billion a year on infrastructure in Afghanistan, but I never get them to bite. They’ll add it on, but they’ll never to the responsible thing and exchange wasteful spending for useful spending.”

Paul continued:

“[T]hat bill yesterday was a bunch of socialist spending, and if you voted for it you’re no better than the Democrats. And so, that’s the problem we have. People need to get involved in primaries and elect better people, but the people in Washington are bankrupting us—both parties.”

Meanwhile, Breitbart reports that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also blasted the bill, referring to it as a “legislative monstrosity” which included what he called $1.4 trillion in “wasteful end-of year-spending” and which he said contained “countless pet projects,” which Cruz said advanced the interests of the “radical left” and “swamp lobbyists.”

On Monday, the Texas senator released a statement in which he complained that Congress attached $900 billion in coronavirus relief to the $1.4 trillion “legislative monstrosity,” which he said will “escape close scrutiny because three times, congressional Democrats rejected good faith efforts to pass targeted relief.”

 

Cruz said that he would have supported a targeted bill that focused “solely” on reopening the economy and putting Americans back to work.

“For example, the final COVID-19 package rejects the Democrats’ misguided attempts to bail out blue states’ underfunded pension plans and replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program—which will go a long way in helping small businesses keep their doors open and employees on the payroll,” Cruz said, while adding that it also included “funding for vaccine procurement and distribution and will support states in their efforts to expand testing.”

Cruz continued that, “Unfortunately, this behemoth did not end there,” while noting the American people are already facing over $27 trillion in debt.

Cruz slammed the bill for its failure to address any “meaningful spending cuts,” while instead he said, advanced the “interests of the radical left, special interests, and swamp lobbyists, with funding going towards expanding authority for more H-2B visas for foreign workers.

He also noted that while a near record number of Americans remain unemployed, the legislation laid the ground work for Democrats to implement the ‘Green New Deal’ by claiming a ‘need’ to meet the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable or zero-emission energy sources.”

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Cruz continued adding that Democrats “exploited the need for relief to advance their political agenda instead of working on legislation that puts our nation on the path to recovery.”

While the legislation passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, four other Republican senators besides Cruz and Paul voted against the bill—Sen. Rick Scott (FL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Lee (UT) and Ron Johnson (WI).

Breitbart reported that in his Monday speech, Paul raked his fellow Republicans over the coals.

 

 

“And yet if free money were the answer, if money really grew on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 per person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?

He continued:

“Maybe these new free money Republicans should join the everybody-gets-a-guaranteed-income caucus. Whey not $20,000 a year for everybody? Why not $30,000? If we can print up money with impunity, why not do it?” he asked.

“The treasury can just keep printing the money. That is, until someone points out that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar no longer has value,” Paul added.

Paul also accused his fellow legislators of encouraging draconian lockdowns by handing money to states with leaders who were implementing rules which he called “arbitrary and unscientific.”

“To so-called conservatives who are quick to call out the socialism of Democrats, if you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better.

“When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity,” he continued while saying the comparison between Democrats and Republicans was “less Adam Smith versus Marx and more Marx versus Engels.”

In explaining the dire straits the country’s fiscal situation now lies in, Paul noted that last year, the country brought in $3.3 trillion while spending $6.6 trillion.

“Today’s money is gone, so Congress is spending tomorrow’s money,” noting that the current national debt stands at a staggering $27 trillion.

“Spend all this money and leave the future to figure itself out,” Paul added.

He noted that some governors are picking winners and losers while thousands of family businesses are being destroyed.

“The need for help is real…but it’s clear that government has worsened the economic damage and acted as the biggest obstacle to economic recovery,” Paul added.

The outlay didn’t appear to be enough for theoretical president-elect Joe Biden, who in a tweet applauded the relief bill but promised that “help is on the way.”

 

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