Congressman Buck McKeon wants accountability for education
spending in current round of stimulus.
With American taxpayers on the hook to spend nearly $100 billion in economic
recovery dollars on federal education programs—on top of the roughly $60 billion
already spent each year—Congressional Republicans are calling on the Obama administration
to cooperate with vigorous oversight to protect both students and taxpayers.
The Education and Labor Committee’s top Republican, Rep. Howard P. “Buck”
McKeon, sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week requesting a
series of briefings on the Administration’s plans, as well as asking several
key questions about how the Department plans to ensure funds are spent wisely.
“I appreciate the daunting task
facing the Department of Education in carrying out the implementation of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and, while I recognize the
Administration’s desire to provide federal funding to states and school
districts expeditiously to meet their budgetary challenges, I believe it is in
the best interest of all taxpayers that these funds be spent effectively and
efficiently to help students,” wrote McKeon.
McKeon and other Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee have
raised serious questions about the inclusion of nearly $100 billion in
education spending in the economic stimulus package.
While much of the funding is directed toward programs that Republicans
support, like Pell Grants and IDEA, the immediate economic benefit of this
spending infusion is uncertain at best, Republicans have argued.
“Taxpayers are being asked to
finance more than $1 trillion in the name of economic recovery—funds that must
be borrowed or paid for through tax increases,” said McKeon. “The Education Department bears a tremendous
responsibility in the dollars it spends and the reforms it demands. With so
much at stake, Republicans are lining up to protect the interests of students
Republicans also believe that channeling funds in this manner will either
inflate state budgets, only to leave them facing huge shortages in future
years, or it will be incorporated into the funding ‘baseline,’ forcing
taxpayers to shoulder hundreds of billions in new, permanent spending
obligations into the future.