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Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) offered an amendment in the Financial Services Committee to allow the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury to recover misappropriated funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and ensure their proper allocation. 

Read the amendment here.

“I have an amendment at the desk.

This Committee authorized the original Emergency Rental Assistance program back in December on a bipartisan basis. In that, we included a provision that is necessary to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud, and abuse.

That provision in ERA1 is a section called “Inspector General Oversight and Recoupment.” This section gives the Inspector General (IG) at the Treasury Department the authority to, quote, “conduct monitoring and oversight of the receipt, disbursement, and use of ERA1 funds.” It also authorizes the IG to recoup funds that are not used in compliance with the terms of the program. In other words, when the IG identifies fraud in the ERA1 program, he can initiate a process to recover the money on behalf of the taxpayers.

Amazingly, the IG does not have this same authority with respect to ERA2 funds – the funds authorized by Democrats on a purely partisan basis in March. My amendment will address this gap in oversight.

We have heard from the Treasury’s office of inspector general and the discrepancy between the IG’s authority with respect to ERA1 and ERA2 makes his job of conducting oversight and protecting the taxpayers’ dollars more difficult.

I previously mentioned that Democrats authorized ERA2 on a partisan basis, without input from Republicans. This may have been a simple mistake that the IG wasn’t authorized to recoup ERA2 funds in cases of fraud. Or perhaps my colleagues intended for grantees to take liberties with ERA2 funds, and use them for other purposes outside of the appropriate scope.

Either way, today we have the opportunity to make things right and protect taxpayers who are bailing out renters and property owners. So, I urge my colleagues to vote yes on my simple amendment to allow the Treasury IG to recoup ERA2 funds and protect the emergency rental assistance program against waste, fraud, and abuse.”