Emmer-led measure would improve oversight of Emergency Rental Assistance program

Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and every Republican member on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee aims to improve federal oversight of the COVID-19-related Emergency Rental Assistance program. 

“The Emergency Rental Assistance Accountability and Transparency Act [of 2022] is a consistent and common sense oversight mechanism that will give us the ability to better protect Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars from waste, fraud and abuse in the Emergency Rental Assistance program,” said Rep. Emmer, who on May 3 sponsored H.R. 7645 with 23 original cosponsors.

If enacted, H.R. 7645 would amend the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to authorize the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury Department to conduct monitoring and oversight of the receipt, disbursement and use of funds provided under the Emergency Rental Assistance program, according to the text of the bill.

In an effort to recoup misused funds, if the department’s Inspector General determines that an eligible grantee has failed to comply with the enacted law, then the amount equal to the amount of funds used in violation of the law would be booked as a debt owed to the federal government and any amounts recovered would be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury, the text says. 

“In 2020, Inspector Generals returned approximately $16 in savings for every dollar that we invested in their budgets,” Rep. Emmer said. “In Speaker Pelosi’s partisan, $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Democrats did not give the Treasury Inspector General any additional authorities or resources to oversee the tens of billions of dollars in new funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance program.” 

Original cosponsors of H.R. 7645 include U.S. Reps. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Andy Barr (R-KY), French Hill (R-AR), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), and Bryan Steil (R-WI).