Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) offered an amendment during a Financial Services Committee Markup to redirect $35 million of the Democrat’s proposed $3.5 trillion to the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury and the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure oversight of American Rescue Plan programs.
Watch Rep. Emmer’s remarks here.
The bipartisan CARES Act – one of the first COVID relief packages adopted in March 2020 – included $35 million in funding for the Treasury Inspector General to conduct oversight of programs like the Coronavirus Relief Fund. In total, the federal government has appropriated trillions of dollars in new spending to help combat the impact of the COVID pandemic, however, Democrats failed to include any additional resources for the Inspector Generals charged with overseeing the $1.9 trillion in new spending following their partisan passage of the American Rescue Plan earlier this year.
Congressman Emmer’s Amendment would provide additional resources to the Inspector Generals at the Department of Treasury and HUD to ensure they are able to continue with their oversight work and keep a watchful eye on the use of taxpayer dollars. Read the amendment here.
“I have an amendment at the desk.
My amendment is simple.
You might remember Democrats in Congress pushed for strong oversight of the CARES Act programs, which we passed on a bipartisan basis. This included $35 million in dedicated funds for the office of inspector general at the Treasury Department to conduct oversight of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The Coronavirus Relief Fund is a $150 billion pot of money.
When it comes to identifying waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending, there is no better investment of taxpayer dollars than the Inspector Generals (IGs). Last year, IGs returned approximately $16 in savings for every dollar that we invested in their budgets. With returns like that, how could we not fund our Treasury IG?
Well, when the Democrats pushed through the $1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan on a partisan basis, that bill did not provide nearly enough money for oversight – 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.
As we’ve seen, the Coronavirus Relief Fund has been exposed to waste, fraud, and abuse. 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.
This is just one example in my district. In light of the lack of appropriate funding for our Treasury IG, the Treasury Office of Inspector General received tens of thousands of e-mail and hotline inquiries, and thousands of complaints related to the Department’s American Rescue Plan programs. The need for oversight of COVID relief money is clear.
So, my amendment puts our taxpayer dollars to very good use and redirects money to the IGs at Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct oversight of the programs in this bill, and those in the American Rescue Plan Act.
Specifically, it provides $35 million for each office – the same that was appropriated to the Treasury IG to conduct oversight of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
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.”