Red Tape Delayed Stimulus Projects

Louise Radnofsky and Melanie Trottman
Wall Street Journal

Red tape delayed a variety of federal stimulus projects including transportation-security upgrades, home weatherization and housing-project surveillance cameras, according to a government report.

Agencies responsible for administering stimulus dollars told the Government Accountability Office that complying with aspects regulating the use of the funds—such as requiring contractors to pay local prevailing wages, strict “Buy American” rules for materials, and a mandate that federal agencies must consider a project’s effect on any historic site—were preventing them from moving more quickly to put stimulus money to work.

The report by the nonpartisan GAO was requested by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and could provide more ammunition for the partisan fight over the effectiveness of the stimulus stirred up by the program’s one-year anniversary this week. Obama administration officials say the stimulus program has succeeded in averting a deeper recession. Republicans say the program has been ineffective, costly and slow.

A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget said that when Congress assembled the stimulus package it “wanted to ensure that all possible Recovery Act opportunities are available for American workers and American companies.”

The stimulus bill required for the first time that recipients of grants from the Energy Department’s weatherization program comply with Davis-Bacon wage requirements, which are supported by unions.

The article continues at the Wall Street Journal.

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