At a budget hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, some of the members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee pressed Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack about waste, fraud, abuse and errors in his department’s programs—particularly the nutrition programs such as SNAP.
Vilsack said he is just as concerned as they are and he’s boosting efforts to root out fraud and abuse in the SNAP program. But he said it’s not just the integrity of SNAP that’s being worked on.
“There’s also an issue we’re taking very seriously on crop insurance—because the percentage of error and fraud rate is higher in crop insurance than it is in SNAP,” Vilsack said. ““Obviously those programs are different in terms of size—but even if you reduce the error rate in crop insurance, you’re talking about tens of millions, and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in savings as well.
“So it’s incumbent on us to continue to be focused on integrity.”
Vilsack said that’s why he’s requesting more money in next year’s USDA budget for program evaluations, reviews, investigations and enforcement.