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Senate Introduces Companion to “Chase COVID Unemployment Fraud Act”

July 14, 2022

With unemployment fraud leaving taxpayers on the hook for an estimated $163 billion – or up to $400 billion – and only a little over $4 billion recovered, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and 13 Senate Republican cosponsors introduced a companion to the House “Chase COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2022” (H.R. 8000) bill which would jumpstart efforts to claw back federal funds and pursue recovery of fraudulent payments by ensuring aggressive identification, investigation, and prosecution of criminal fraud in pandemic unemployment programs.

Upon introduction of the Senate bill, Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said:

“Democrats have turned a blind eye to the biggest theft of taxpayer dollars in history. It’s troubling that they don’t even know how much was stolen.

“These are not victimless crimes. Republicans Members of Congress in both the House and the Senate are leading the fight to recover these funds and protect American families and small businesses.”

Republicans Are Fighting Against Unchecked Unemployment Fraud and Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars.

  • Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), alongside House Republican leaders introduced the “Chase COVID Unemployment Fraud ACt of 2022” in June, 2022.
  • In June 2022, reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) placed the unemployment program on the agency’s “high-risk” list for fraud, even as the Biden Administration issued guidance to make it easier for states to sweep fraudulent payments under the rug, instead of focusing on recovering fraud and prosecuting criminals.
  • Last year, Rep. Brady, along with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and top Republican leaders, introduced the Combatting COVID Unemployment Fraud Act of 2021 (H.R. 3268) to prevent fraud in COVID unemployment programs, recover fraudulently paid benefits, and provide relief for taxpayers and victims of unemployment fraud.

The Biden Administration Has No Idea Exactly How Many Tax Dollars Have Been Stolen or Improperly Paid.

  • In February 2022, the White House estimated that 19 percent of total COVID unemployment insurance payments were lost to fraud – offering a low estimate of over $80 billion.
  • By contrast, the Department of Labor’s estimate puts that number much higher. Outside experts say the number could be as high as $400 billion.
  • In May 2022, the Washington Post reported that an estimated $163 billion were siphoned away by fraudsters, and that if the government’s best estimate is accurate, only 2.4 percent of wrongful payments have been recovered.

READ: Republican Leaders Introduce Bill to Recover Unchecked Unemployment Fraud