House passes government charge card rules

The House approved a bill Aug. 1 to better control what federal employee use government charge cards to buy.

The Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act (S. 300) would put in place more requirements for record-keeping on the cards. The bill would require agencies to keep track of all their card holders and the associated spending limits. It would require approval and the reconciliation of transactions. Further, payments would have to be timely and accurate, while officials recover improper or even illegal purchases.

Agencies would have to take "appropriate adverse personnel actions" against employees who commit fraud, but the bill does not specify what such actions would be. The bill would also require more reports to the Office of Management and Budget.

The House amended the Senate’s language so that civilian agencies and the Defense Department would have similar rules over charge cards. DOD has its own section of the law governing the cards’ use, which predated this proposed bill. The House also clarified definitions in the bill, and streamlined the reporting requirements for the inspectors general.

The bill now returns to the Senate for its consideration with the House amendments. The two chambers have to agree to language before the bill can go to the president.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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