July 27, 2021

GAO Confirms Over $1 Trillion in Unspent COVID Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week published a report on federal pandemic relief aid detailing large sums of federal funding that remain unspent. As Congressional Democrats continue their calls for at least $3.5 trillion in new government spending, the GAO report estimates that more than $1 trillion in pandemic relief aid approved over the last year remains unspent, including $156 billion by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and another $210 billion that was allocated for state and local governments.

House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement:

“Despite over $1 trillion in unspent federal funds sitting in accounts, Democrats are focused instead on how they can spend trillions more by reaching back into taxpayers’ pockets or adding more to the nation’s debt,” said House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith. “At the same time, the historic level of inflation our country is facing, fueled by the President’s misguided spending policies, amounts to a pay cut and a tax hike on every worker and family in America. This country cannot afford the continued reckless tax and spending spree Washington Democrats are proposing.”

During debate over the nearly $2 trillion Biden bailout bill earlier this year, Republicans pointed out that there was at that time an estimated $1 trillion in unspent COVID relief funding. Now, the findings from GAO show a similarly substantial pool of money remains. More massive spending by Congressional Democrats will further drive up inflation, and it is unnecessary given the large sums of federal funds available to federal agencies and state governments that remain unspent.

Earlier this year, House Budget Committee Republicans called on President Biden’s “Rescue Czar,” Gene Sperling, OMB Acting Director Shalanda Young, and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for greater transparency and reporting regarding how federal agencies are spending American taxpayer dollars, noting several instances of potential misuse or abuse already occurring. Leader Smith has also introduced H.Res.127, which calls on the President to provide Congress with information on the amount of spent and unobligated funds from all previously enacted coronavirus aid packages.

Read the Government Accountability Office report here.