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Press Releases :: March 19, 2009

Subcommittee Examines How Agencies Will Be Accountable and Transparent With Recovery Package Funding

(Washington, DC) – During Sunshine in Government week, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing to examine the accountability and transparency provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1. Members received testimony from agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction to determine the actions being taken to ensure accountability for the science and technology R&D funds they have received from Recovery package.

“Congress and the President enacted the Recovery Act to respond to extraordinary circumstances. It leaves the agencies to walk a fine line. If you want to jump-start the economy by expanding employment, the money in this bill needs to get into the spending pipeline quickly,” stated Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC). “Yet Congress did not relieve the agencies of their responsibility to adhere to Federal contracting rules when distributing these funds, which takes time and skilled personnel first to award the grant or contract and then to manage it in a way that ensures a productive outcome.”

The science funding allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was meant to create jobs immediately while supporting our nation’s competitiveness.

“Congress expects that money will be put into circulation quickly to meet the employment goals of the act, but it is just as important that the money is awarded fairly and for purposes that serve real public needs,” said Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “In our democracy, the greatest accountability measure you can embrace is to let the public know what you are doing and how you are doing it.”

H.R. 1 included funding to the major agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction:

  • Department of Energy (DOE), to fund renewable energy technology development, standards-setting and deployment of smart grid technologies, demonstration of carbon capture and storage, grants for companies producing advanced batteries, cutting-edge energy research at the Office of Science, creation of ARPA-E, and loan guarantees for the deployment of existing clean technologies.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to support Earth science climate research missions, for aeronautics, including system-level research, development and demonstration activities related to aviation safety, exploration, hurricane related repair for funding, environmental impact mitigation and the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
  • National Science Foundation (NSF), to immediately fund highly-rated grants that have already been through the merit-review process and to allow for much-needed cutting edge research equipment and facilities construction, and to support programs to train the next generation of STEM teachers.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to develop standards for Health Information Technology (Health IT) and smart grid, and for university construction grants.
  • National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to address a backlog of research, restoration, navigation, conservation and management activities; and for construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment; to improve weather forecasting; and to support satellite development. It will also address critical gaps in climate modeling and establish climate data records for continuing research into climate change.

Subcommittee Members heard testimony from two panels of witnesses. The first panel was composed of the Senior Accountability Officers from each agency. The second panel was composed of Inspector Generals (IGs) and a Managing Director from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“When the stimulus funds run out next year, we want to know where they went and if these funds succeeded in meeting the goals Congress set forth. This Committee will particularly want to know, did they ‘provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health,’” added Miller.

For more information, please visit the Committee’s website and




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