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Stimulus Assistance Bill Passes House

By Ed O'Keefe

State and local governments may soon get some relief in tracking and distributing federal economic stimulus dollars now that the House has passed a bill granting permission to use more of the funding for oversight purposes. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), comes as several states have raised concerns about the burden of managing a large infusion of federal cash. But it may prove unnecessary since the Obama administration already plans to do most of what the bill outlines.

Regardless, Towns admitted in a statement today that “Not initially providing funds for state auditors under the Recovery Act was an omission that needed to be rectified. I am extremely pleased that the House voted to approve this important legislation."

The bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to give detailed instructions on how to report jobs data, a tricky and politically sensitive measure of the stimulus plan's success. The administration has already provided some guidance on how to track job creation and will soon release further instructions. OMB also issued updated guidance last week on how state and local governments can obtain federal money for stimulus oversight and auditing purposes.

The bill does however give the states access to the federal supply schedules of the General Services Administration, which has pre-negotiated contracts for stimulus projects. The administration's original stimulus package did not include such access.

Regardless of the bill's apparent redundancy, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee planst to consider the bill tomorrow. (pdf)

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 19, 2009; 3:40 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Oversight  
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President Obama orders Congress to cut One Hundred Million Dollars from the budget and Hillary Clinton gives One Hundred one Million Dollars to Pakistan! More taxpayer money down the toilet. Pakistan will go to the Taliban in the next few years no matter how much we try to buy them off. Sounds like the fall of the Roman Empire to me. Real allies don't have to be bought!

Posted by: jjhan2 | May 20, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I LOVED THE ARTICLE and I am impressed by your unbiased reporting. We need the press to tell us the truth, especially now, during this economic crisis. I am not surprised one bit by this additional legistation, like the AIG bonuses screw up, and I read somewhere that workers were pulled off a job in California simply because they were not "union" so this bill must have required that which is not fair. I listened to Charles Rangel and Robert Reich on C-Span discuss how they could rangle a way to go over the heads of states and that workers must be inexperienced and non-white, to my surprise. I'm not surprised because I don't think anyone read the 1100 page document that I hear on Page 11 is a reading from a french socialist or something like that. Some legistation passed the other day that a congressman has slipped in some initials and the congress voted and passed and were shocked by what they had just passed. I beleive the democrats are in a trance or something but they need to wake up-we have-no more spending, printing, and borrowing and put the money back into the social security that they have borrowed over the years and quit screaming about changing our system-we paid for it-it should be there-I don't want to hear their feeble excuses.

Posted by: noseyten | May 21, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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