RSenate Finance Committee publicans have demanded a detailed report on how $350 billion in US bailout funds were spent.
The committee claimed that the Treasury Department was not transparent about how the funds are used and asked that the Government Accountability Office provide details of the funds used in all states, localities, territories and tribes.
“Based on multiple discussions with Treasury Department officials regarding the obligations, expenditures, and uses of the state and local fiscal stimulus funds (SLRFFs) provided for in ARPA, there remains insufficient information on the publicly available details and reports date, which the Treasury seems to take with occasional indifference,” the letter states. “Due to the lack of information and transparency about the use and accounting of these federal funds, we request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) helps ensure that there is proper oversight of at least $350 billion in ARPA funding and the necessary accountability to Congress and the American people.”
The request also included questions for the GAO, including how much oversight the Treasury Department has over the use of funds and how a taxpayer can view the report, if Treasury Department reporting requirements create encumbrances. and inefficiency, and what the department has determined is that expenditures reported by states and localities adhere to restrictions on use put in place in the American Rescue Plan Act, rather than using the funds for not related to COVID-19.
Congress passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to help local, state, tribal and federal governments mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic, which included providing stimulus checks to citizens who lost their jobs or could not pay their rent due to a lack of funds triggered by the pandemic.
The report request comes after President Joe Biden announced that $10 billion of US bailout funds were earmarked to bolster public safety last month after several mass shootings across the country. The money can be used to hire more police officers and other police resources such as equipment and cars.
“To every governor, every mayor, every county official, the need is clear, my message is clear: Spend this money now. Use these funds that we have made available to you. Put public safety first,” Biden said last month, according to NBC News. “Do it quickly before the summer, when crime rates typically spike.”