Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Committee President Maya MacGuineas Testifies on Need for Improved Oversight, Accountability of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Jun 3, 2020 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya MacGuineas will testify today, June 3, before a newly established committee of federal inspectors general tasked with overseeing the distribution of fiscal relief for the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) will hear from stakeholders about oversight of the trillions of dollars in federal aid being disbursed.

Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

“Today’s unprecedented economic crisis has been met with an unprecedented fiscal and monetary response. Already, Congress and the President have put in place $3.6 trillion of fiscal support – at a net cost of $2.4 trillion – to help all sectors of the economy weather this crisis.

"The goal of early legislation was to get a lot of money out fast. And despite early hiccups, they have largely achieved that goal. Going forward, it is important that we spend the money smartly and that we have adequate transparency and careful oversight to ensure these funds aren’t unnecessarily wasted.

"The impact of these federal dollars will only go as far as the due diligence of the agencies in charge of their distribution. As we learned from tracking economic relief efforts in the wake of the 2008-09 recession, billions of dollars can get lost in the shuffle without adequate transparency and accountability. That’s why we recently launched our COVID Money Tracker, which monitors every significant action taken to manage this crisis. We will show how much has been disbursed, who receives it, and when it’s been paid back to allow lawmakers, researchers, and the public to assess if these relief efforts are working as intended.

“Thus far, transparency efforts by federal agencies have been useful but imperfect. PRAC’s oversight reports of agency efforts are a good start and their ongoing work can be a powerful tool to verify that taxpayer dollars are well spent.

“As policymakers consider additional relief and economic support efforts, they deserve assurances that the money will be spent wisely, with minimal waste, fraud, and abuse, and without special interest giveaways. Failing at this goal will not only reduce the efficacy of spending, but could undermine public trust and thus hamper the recovery efforts.”

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The hearing, “Stakeholder Perspectives on Federal COVID-19 Spending and Response,” begins at 2pm Eastern and can be viewed here.

For more information, please contact John Buhl, director of media relations, at buhl@crfb.org.