“In 2020, Inspector Generals returned approximately $16 in savings for every dollar that we invested in their budgets. In Speaker Pelosi’s partisan, $1.9 trillion 'American Rescue Plan', Democrats did not give the Treasury Inspector General any additional authorities or resources to oversee the tens of billions of dollars in new funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance program. The Emergency Rental Assistance Accountability and Transparency Act is a consistent and common sense oversight mechanism that will give us the ability to better protect Americans’ hard earned tax dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse in the ERA program,” Emmer said.
Ranking Member McHenry said, “While Democrats continue to abdicate their oversight responsibilities, Committee Republicans are working to hold the Administration accountable. Biden’s Treasury Department has routinely mismanaged the Emergency Rental Assistance programs and failed to account for millions in funding—leaving taxpayer dollars vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse. Additionally, the Administration’s politicized ERA reallocations leave renters in rural communities out to dry, diverting their funds to subsidize the failed housing policies of Democrat-run states and localities. I’m proud to lead this critical legislation alongside Congressman Emmer and our Republican colleagues to help the Inspector General’s office get to the bottom of one of many Biden failures.”
Specifically, the bill would amend the American Rescue Plan Act to give the Department of the Treasury’s Inspector General the authority to oversee the emergency rental assistance program and recoup misused funds.
In December 2020, the House Financial Services Committee authorized the original Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERA1) on a bipartisan basis.
The program included a provision that gives the Inspector General at the Department of the Treasury the authority to “conduct monitoring and oversight of the receipt, disbursement, and use of ERA1 funds.” Additionally, this provision authorizes the Inspector General to initiate a process to recover money on behalf of taxpayers when fraud is identified.
However, the continuation of this program authorized through the partisan American Rescue Plan removed this oversight provision, leaving the program without recourse against waste, fraud and abuse. An amendment offered by Congressman Emmer in September 2021 to allow the Treasury Inspector General to recoup these funds was rejected by Democrats.
Read the bill in its entirety here.