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Government Watchdogs Under-Equipped to Oversee Spending of Billions in Taxpayer Money

Heavy spending bills approved by Congress over the past two years have poured billions of dollars into state coffers through governmental agencies, posing a threat to the government inspectors in charge of preventing waste, fraud, and abuse in the use of taxpayer funds.

At a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation on March 29, inspectors general from three federal agencies and the director from the Government Accountability Office ( GAO ) informed Congress that their offices lacked the necessary staffing to manage the significant increase in spending permitted by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ( IIJA ), CHIPS Act, and Inflation Reduction Act.

Sean O’Donnell, at normal at the Environmental Protection Agency, said,” We’ve seen this before.”

” A increased risk of fraud, waste, and abuse is equal to the calculation of an unprepared business dispensing an extraordinary amount of money, occasions a large number of struggling beneficiaries.”

The EPA received$ 60 billion from the IRA, the most money the organization has ever received. Water infrastructure projects, electrical school buses, and cleaning initiatives are some of the projects that will receive funding from the money.

State Revolving Funds( SRFs ) are typically used to distribute funds for those needs, but O’Donnell questioned his office’s capacity to effectively manage such a sizable influx of money.

In the region of northern Georgia, a reeltender installs fiber optic cable. ( Getty Images / Michael Smith )

O’Donnell stated that” we have profound capacity and competence problems.” ” One think recently told us that it anticipates receiving more SRF money this year than it did in all former years combined.”

Staffing Issue

The inspectors continue to view insufficient manpower as a problem, despite some additional funding provided for monitoring through the taking expenses.

According to Peggy Gustafson, inspector general at the Department of Commerce, the CHIPS Act provided$ 25 million over a five-year period for oversight, and the IIJA provided$ 80 million. She claimed that as a result, her practice had increased hiring and retention.

Many executives claimed they are still unprepared for the current task.

According to O’Donnell,” straight or declining budgets have been a problem for us for more than ten years.” ” We were funded for 355 full-time alternatives twelve years ago, and now we’re home to 270.”

Similar circumstances exist at the Department of Energy, where Inspector General Teri Donaldson claimed that since these spending acts were passed, the amount of money her office must account for has increased from$ 44 billion to$ 478 billion.

The IIJA and IRA each contributed$ 62 million and$ 20 million, respectively, to handle that threefold increase in task, which, according to Donaldson, is insufficient.

” As even a first installment to conduct appropriate oversight, my office faces an immediate funding shortfall of over$ 300 million.” Therefore, without more support, we will be so overburdened that crucial existing areas won’t be subject to the proper OIG ( Office of Inspector General ) monitoring, she said.

According to her, Joe Biden’s 2024 budget proposal does call for an additional$ 165 million for Donaldson.

Despite the$ 30 million in additional funding provided by recent spending acts, Mark Gaffigan, managing director of natural resources and environment at the GAO, claimed that his office is still understaffed.

We had 5, 100 M when I first arrived here in 1987. We dropped to 3, 000 all the way, according to Gaffigan.

Since 1987, employment has never gotten easier and the programs have neither shrunk, so analysts are really needed to cover these topics, he said.

All witnesses stated to the committee that they intended to” full and robustly supervise the implementation of the investing laws” despite the challenges.

O’Donnell stated,” We want the state to know that we are their companions in fighting corruption and in helping to ensure that these activities are executed properly.”

" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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