Tuesday | June 7, 2022

Scott, Finance Committee Republicans Demand Oversight of State, Local Funds in American Rescue Plan

Senators ask GAO for detailed information on how $350 billion in relief funds has been used

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), along with Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and all other Finance Committee Republicans, requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provide a detailed accounting of the $350 billion of COVID relief funds appropriated to governments of states, localities, territories, and tribes under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“Unfortunately, ARPA, unlike the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, has no meaningful built-in nonpartisan oversight mechanism that allows for necessary Congressional oversight and there is lack of transparency on uses of the funds provided to various governments,” the senators wrote.

“Because of the lack of information and transparency on uses of and accounting for these federal funds, we request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) help to ensure there is proper oversight of at least $350 billion of ARPA funding and necessary accountability to Congress and the American people,” the senators continued.

The letter poses a series of oversight questions, including:

  • Whether the Department of the Treasury (USDT) is using risk assessments and monitoring components to ensure efficient and transparent use of taxpayer resources, and whether Congress and the American people can verify that such controls meet standards;
  • How USDT has tracked whether states have satisfied the objectionable requirement that funds not constitute a “tax cut,” and whether the requirement served any useful purpose;
  • Information on reporting errors, and whether the practice of ignoring such errors adheres to principles of sound federal financial management;
  • What controls have been established to ensure that reported expenditures by states and localities abide by the restrictions on uses put in place in ARPA;
  • How USDT has enforced a legal restriction against a government using state and local funds for deposit into pension funds; and
  • How much of the $350 billion allocated by USDT to state and local governments has been recouped to date, and how Congress and the American people can monitor any such recoupments.

Click here to read the full letter to GAO.

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