More Stimulus Oversight Plans

The drumbeat for oversight continues.

The latest comes from Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), new chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform committee.

Towns says the committee will hold hearings in D.C. and across the country -- along with making visits to jobs sites and state officials -- to provide "a direct examination of the $787 billion taxpayer dollars currently being allocated through the stimulus plan."

"I want to hear from people on the front lines - our state and local officials and our community leaders - about the effectiveness of this stimulus package," Towns said in an announcement today. "Given the current state of our economy, we must do everything possible to ensure that critical stimulus dollars are providing jobs in our communities and laying the groundwork to transform our economy - not falling into the hands of bad actors."

"We have a responsibility to the American people to do everything possible to avoid any waste, fraud, and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars."

We've been hearing a lot of this kind of thing since the new administration took office. You might call it "winds of change" rhetoric. And there's no doubt that such statements give Government Inc. the warm-and-fuzzies -- at least for a moment or two.

Question: Is the White House and Congress really up to backing up the nice sentiments? Please let us know what you think. We'll feature your thoughts -- if you care to share them -- in the coming days.

By Robert O'Harrow |  March 5, 2009; 4:55 PM ET stimulus
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I really want to believe, I really do. I don't want to be cynical anymore; I want to be optimistic about my country.

But the cynicism runs very deep after 8 years of a regime that was cynical toward the citizens and members of the other party, cynical about justice, cynical about our Constitution and cynical toward the rest of the world and even our allies' leaders.

I need more time to get over all that horror, but more than time I need to see these priorities stay at the top of the list, to become not just "to-dos" but how the gov't works as a matter of procedure.

After being abused so badly by the previous regime, it's hard to let go of the cynicism, but it would help a lot if the Bush gang of crooks and traitors were to be tried and jailed. That would make me believe Obama is serious about making gov't accountable to the people, the law, and the world.

Posted by: lquarton | March 7, 2009 4:20 AM

Just more appropriation. More of the same.

Posted by: Bandido | March 8, 2009 11:35 AM

These hearings are first and foremost about politics. They send a clear message to constituents: Congress, and the new Oversight Committee, are serious about preventing “fraud, waste, and abuse” in the doling out of unprecedented amounts of taxpayer dollars. Whether this will be followed up with meaningful oversight remains to be seen.

Posted by: samjack1 | March 9, 2009 5:21 PM

May I suggestr to Chairman Towns that he get out of Washington, D.C. and talk to the hands holding the shovels at these shovel-ready sites. Talking to state and Local Government officials only gets the gov't side of the equation. What washington needs is to see first hand how much the working man and woman is being helped by all this government largess.

Posted by: hi_flier2 | March 11, 2009 11:54 AM

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