Reps. Emmer, McHenry introduce bill to restore oversight provision for COVID relief programs

U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC) introduced legislation to improve oversight of COVID-related Emergency Rental Assistance programs.

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The Emergency Rental Assistance Accountability and Transparency Act would restore a provision that gave the Inspector General at the Department of the Treasury the authority to “conduct monitoring and oversight of the receipt, disbursement, and use of ERA funds.” The provision also authorized the Inspector General to initiate a process to recover money on behalf of taxpayers when fraud is identified. This oversight provision was removed as part of the American Rescue Plan.

“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, ranking member of the Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said.

Specifically, this 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.

“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,” McHenry, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said.