Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, introduced the Emergency Rental Assistance Accountability and Transparency Act to improve Inspector General oversight of COVID-related Emergency Rental Assistance programs. Emmer and McHenry were joined by every Republican member of the Financial Services Committee as cosponsors of this legislation.
“While Democrats continue to abdicate their oversight responsibilities, Committee Republicans are working to hold the Administration accountable,”said Congressman McHenry.“Biden’s Treasury Department has routinely mismanaged the Emergency Rental Assistance programs and failed to account for millions in funding—leaving taxpayer dollars vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse. Additionally, the Administration’s politicized ERA reallocations leave renters in rural communities out to dry, diverting their funds to subsidize the failed housing policies of Democrat-run states and localities. I’m proud to lead this critical legislation alongside Congressman Emmer and our Republican colleagues to help the Inspector General’s office get to the bottom of one of many Biden failures.”
Specifically, the bill would amend the American Rescue Plan Act to give the Department of the Treasury’s Inspector General the authority to oversee the emergency rental assistance program and recoup misused funds.
In December 2020, the House Financial Services Committee authorized the original Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERA1) on a bipartisan basis.
The program included a provision that gives the Inspector General at the Department of the Treasury the authority to “conduct monitoring and oversight of the receipt, disbursement, and use of ERA1 funds.” Additionally, this provision authorizes the Inspector General to initiate a process to recover money on behalf of taxpayers when fraud is identified.
However, the continuation of this program authorized through the partisan American Rescue Plan removed this oversight provision, leaving the program without recourse against waste, fraud and abuse. An amendment offered by Congressman Emmer in September 2021 to allow the Treasury Inspector General to recoup these funds was rejected by Democrats.