GOP Creates Stimulus Watchdog Group

Posted February 26, 2009 at 11:34am

House and Senate Republicans on Thursday announced the creation of a new group to watch over the implementation of the $787 billion stimulus package.

“This bicameral group will serve as a watchdog and utilize innovative technologies and new approaches to ensure that taxpayer dollars in the stimulus bill are spent accountably,” according to a release from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Fiscal hawks joining Cantor to launch the group on the House side are GOP Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Kevin Brady (Texas) and Jerry Moran (Kan.).

Senate GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) are the group’s founding Senate Members.

The stimulus package, signed into law on Feb. 17 by President Barack Obama, included funding for an oversight board. Thune spokesman Kyle Downey said the group was formed to “add another set of eyes” to watch over the stimulus.

“Any time you spend money this quickly, there is going to be waste, fraud and abuse,” Downey said. “What we’re doing here is saying we’re going to add some checks and balances to this system.”

The GOP group will likely hold hearings in the coming weeks as the stimulus goes into effect.

“This week, Sen. Alexander has asked Senate Republicans to send their ideas to the Conference on areas of the stimulus that we should specifically focus on,” Alexander spokesman Ryan Loskarn said. “As we move forward, we’re going to be looking at the bill, looking at the funding and looking at what works and what doesn’t work.”