Senate Republicans Want OMB to Review Stimulus

Posted January 16, 2009 at 2:47pm

As the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares to mark up an economic stimulus package next week, Republican Members on the panel are seeking to delay action by requesting the legislation first be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

In a letter to incoming Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) sent Thursday, ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) acknowledges that “this course of action may take more time,” but said that an OMB review of the measure would ensure administrative oversight and transparency.

“By requiring OMB to do its job, Congress will be better able to hold those agencies and grantees executing stimulus spending accountable for successes and failures, and to mitigate opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse,” said the letter, which was co-signed by every Senate Republican appropriator.

A senior Republican aide said the OMB request “is about crafting this bill the right way.”

“We all know this stimulus bill is going to happen. We don’t want it slowed down, we just want it done right,” the aide said.

An OMB review, however, would likely delay Senate consideration of a stimulus plan. Moreover, it remains unclear how quickly Obama’s pick to head the OMB will be in place.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing earlier this week on Peter Orszag’s nomination to serve as director of OMB, but has yet to vote on the confirmation. The full Senate also must approve the nomination.