May 12, 2021

Smith Demands Transparency & Accountability from Biden Administration’s “Rescue Czar”

With waste, fraud, and abuse showing up in the $1.9 trillion spending, it is time for answers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (MO-08) has sent a letter to Gene Sperling – who was appointed by President Biden to oversee implementation of the Administration’s $1.9 trillion spending bill enacted in March – demanding “the fullest transparency and accountability” as the Administration distributes that funding.

“It’s been 60 days since Washington Democrats jammed through the nearly $2 trillion partisan Biden Bailout Bill,” said House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith. “The American people deserve answers on where this money is going and why, and what, if any, actions the Biden Administration is taking to defend the interests of American taxpayers as they so clearly champion the interests of their political allies. With examples of potential waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars already beginning to show up from this funding, the Biden Administration should waste no time in providing Congress with a fully transparent accounting of how it is spending Americans’ tax dollars.”

The letter notes several instances of potential misuse or abuse of taxpayer dollars already occurring, including:

  • The Governor of New Jersey considering using American Rescue Plan dollars for the creation of a $40 million fund for the state’s 460,000 illegal immigrants.
  • The State of New York including a $2.1 billion fund for direct checks to illegal immigrants in its state budget – suspiciously the exact amount of additional federal dollars they received from the American Rescue Plan.
  • The Governor of Wisconsin vetoing a bill that would have allowed the state legislature’s budget committee to oversee the use of American Rescue Plan dollars, instead allowing the Governor to have unilateral control of $5 billion.
“Regardless of our disagreements with the approach and policies included in the recently enacted law, as stewards for taxpayer dollars, it is incumbent upon us to make sure every dollar is utilized in a transparent manner,” wrote House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith. “We would like your commitment and assurance to share information regarding how all related funds are being spent and where they are being disbursed. Given the substantial amount of American taxpayer dollars involved – in addition to the amount of funding that remains unspent or outstanding from the five previously enacted coronavirus bills – it is vital to meticulously manage the use of these resources.”

The letter requests answers from the Administration to specific questions across eight areas of interest:

  • Previously enacted COVID-19 funding.
  • Actions the Administration is taking to protect taxpayer dollars.
  • Recipients of individual direct payments – including those individuals who are currently incarcerated or living in mixed status households.
  • Small business assistance – including what safeguards are being implemented to ensure funds are not stolen, abused, or mismanaged.
  • Reopening of schools – including information on what the Administration is doing to facilitate a return to in-person learning.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund – including how much money is left in that program and who at HHS is now responsible for it.
  • Funding for COVID-19 testing – including how the sizeable pool of money dedicated to testing is being spent.
  • Ensuring a commitment to accountability and transparency – including how the Administration will practice its own internal oversight as well as how it will ensure Congress has timely and detailed information about the oversight of this spending.
Read the full letter here.