Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota is proposing an amendment to Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package that would ensure greater oversight of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, per a press release.
The CARES Act, a bipartisan relief package passed in March 2020, included, at the behest of congressional Democrats, $35 million for a U.S. Treasury program that provided oversight of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.
But these same Democrats, Emmer said in recent remarks, did not include similar oversight funding in their $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was passed in a party-line vote and signed by President Biden in March 2021.
“When the Democrats pushed through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on a partisan basis, that bill did not provide nearly enough money for oversight,” Emmer said. “In fact, it didn’t provide any money at all for our Treasury IG.”
“So, the American Rescue Plan programs carried out with little to no oversight. Our taxpayers don’t deserve such reckless spending.”
Emmer’s proposed amendment, if approved, would redirect $35 million to the Treasury inspector general and another $35 million to the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for oversight purposes — something he says is sorely needed. The money would be used to conduct oversight of American Rescue Plan programs as well as programs included in the new spending package.
“The Coronavirus Relief Fund has been exposed to waste, fraud, and abuse,” he remarked. “Back home in my district, the Sartell-St Stephen’s school district used COVID relief funds to fund an equity survey that alarmed students and their parents. This survey was completely not COVID related and was entirely inappropriate in the first place.”
Emmer also mentioned that the Treasury inspector general has received “tens of thousands” of inquiries and complaints related to fraud, waste, and abuse of the American Rescue Plan.
“The need for oversight of COVID relief money is clear,” he said. “I know my colleagues will see that this amendment represents an investment to protect taxpayer dollars against waste, fraud, and abuse, and I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.”