Rep. Towns: States need help managing stimulus money

States might need guidance from OMB

The Office of Management and Budget should give more guidance to states on how to direct and document hundreds of billions of dollars in spending under the economic stimulus law, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said today.

“The good news is that money is flowing from the federal government to the states at a faster rate than the Congressional Budget Office predicted at the beginning of this year,” said Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) at a committee hearing.

“But there is also bad news,” he added. “The [Government Accountability Office] found significant shortcomings in the targeting and tracking of recovery act spending.”

States need more guidance to define economically distressed areas targeted under the $790 billion economic stimulus law, Towns said. At least $300 billion of the spending will be channeled through state and local governments.

State agencies would also benefit from additional funding for conducting administrative and oversight functions for the spending, he said. He has introduced legislation to increase the percentage of stimulus funds that can be used for oversight activities.

At the hearing, GAO’s Acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said states need more guidance on accountability, transparency, impact assessments, communications and single audits.

“States have implemented various internal control programs. However, federal single audit guidance and reporting does not fully address [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] risk,” Dodaro said. “The single audit reporting deadline is too late to provide audit results in time for the audited entity to take action on deficiencies noted in recovery act programs. Moreover, current guidance does not achieve the level of accountability needed to effectively respond to recovery act risks. Finally, state auditors need additional flexibility and funding to undertake the added single audit responsibilities under the recovery act.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.