Washington D.C.-Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is introducing an amendment (Inhofe #459) to the Economic Development Revitalization Act (EDA) (S. 782), which he said would be essential to secure his support for the bill. The amendment would give the Government Accountability Office (GAO) the ability to audit the distribution of EDA grants. GAO would be responsible for ensuring that these grants are awarded through a competitive process and in accordance with EDA criteria and requirements. Additionally GAO would submit a report every year to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to have the efficiency of the program reviewed.
"Over the past few weeks, I have been working closely with my colleagues in the Senate to make vital improvements to the Economic Development Revitalization Act so that the bill can gain the support it enjoyed in 2004 when it passed by Unanimous Consent in the Senate," Senator Inhofe said. "As a result of these discussions, I am introducing an additional amendment that will require the GAO to evaluate how EDA funds are awarded. Instead of letting bureaucrats decide where to direct these funds, my amendment ensures that EDA grants are awarded through a highly competitive, transparent process, with proper oversight from Congress.
"My colleagues in both the Senate and the House have stressed the importance of having greater accountability and oversight in the EDA grant process. Without this amendment, the bill stands no chance of passing in the House: therefore, it is essential in order to gain my support for the Economic Development Revitalization Act in the Senate."