WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, today announced his participation in a Senate-House Fiscal Responsibility Working Group that will serve primarily as a watchdog over implementation of the $1.1 trillion economic stimulus plan. The group will monitor for any signs of waste, fraud, and abuse and bring these to the attention of Congress, the Administration, and the American people.
Sen. Cornyn joins Sen. John Thune, R-SD, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-VA, and other colleagues from the Senate and the House in launching this working group.
“The stimulus was signed into law and the funds are already making their way to the states. While I did not vote for the plan, it is now public law and it will use billions of Texas taxpayer dollars. The economy must be revived, and I want this plan to work. But in order for it to work, we must hold those responsible for distributing the funds accountable.
“The President has told mayors he will ‘call them out’ if they are wasteful with the stimulus funds they receive. Vice President Biden, who has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the stimulus, has said he will be ‘a bit of a pain in the neck’ and will use the media to ‘embarrass them for not doing what they’re supposed to.’
“Frankly, this slap-on-the-wrist approach to monitoring the implementation of more than $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars is a far cry from the kind of accountability Texas taxpayers are expecting. If the stimulus bill had not been crafted behind closed doors, void of bipartisan input and tangible accountability measures, we probably would not need the watchdog group we are launching today.
“But this is not the case. It would be foolish to sit back and cross our fingers, hoping that every agency and entity across the country is going to behave responsibly and spend these funds fairly, or to expect they even have the manpower needed to carry out the distribution of the funds.
“Take the Department of Energy for example. According to recent news reports, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his intention to quickly disburse $32.7 billion in stimulus grants and $130 billion in loans. In almost the same breath, the Energy Department’s Inspector General issued a report citing a personnel shortage in the office that processes funding applications.
The IG wrote, ‘We recognize that the goals of expediency and accountability may prove difficult to fully reconcile.’
“The working group my colleagues and I are launching today will aggressively oversee how taxpayer dollars are being spent and not only indentify instances of waste or abuse, but call for Congressional hearings and action to root out abuse and correct it. It is our hope this group will help to ensure the stimulus funds are being disbursed for initiatives that will have a direct, positive effect on the health of our nation’s economy.”