Nov 12, 1997
Press Release

Washington, DC -- November 12, 1997. Delinquent fines, student loans, royalties, and other debts to the U.S. government have rolled into a 50 billion dollar tab- and debtors are doing little about it. The numbers are the topic of hearings being held today in the Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney released a report today, in conjunction with the hearings, which shows the break-down of the debt, and the degree to which the agencies are breaking the law.

The "Debt Collection Improvement Act" written by Maloney in 1996, calls for debts over 180 days old to be turned over to the Department of Treasury for collection. Thirty five agencies are in violation of this law. In the year and a half since the law has been in place, only 2.5 million dollars in delinquent debt has been collected.

"What I find most disturbing is the fact that the debt has increased from about 25 billion in 1985, to more than 50 billion in 1997. We've handed the government departments the tools to clamp down on people who owe them money- yet they continue to let the debt pile up," remarked Maloney. "50 billion dollars is twice this year's forecast for the national deficit! There is always a move to tighten purse strings...why are they not bringing in the money that's right under their noses!"

Maloney also issued a report card today, reflecting how well each agency has implemented the legislation.