Obama Signs Bill to Curtail Wasteful Gov't Spending

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President Obama signed a new bill into law on Thursday that's supposed to cut down on wasteful government spending.

The savings will come from double checking payments to make sure they're not written to the wrong person, for the wrong amount, or for the wrong reason.

"This isn't about lines on a spreadsheet and numbers on a budget," Obama said at the White House signing ceremony. "When government doesn't work as it should, it has a real effect on people's lives."

The president hailed the new law as an example of bipartisan consensus, noting that both the House and the Senate passed the measure unanimously.

"If a family was double billed for their car payment or paid for groceries they never received, they'd figure out what went wrong and get their money back. Washington should hold itself to the same standard of fiscal responsibility," said U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat and key sponsor in the House.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has estimated that improper federal payments, including those to jailed or dead individuals or contractors barred from doing business with the government, cost the U.S. $98 billion in 2009. The majority of improper payments came from Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to the agency.

This year, the president's federal budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the third straight year.

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