WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The White House issued guidance Friday to federal agencies in a bid to ensure effective implementation and oversight of the $1 trillion infrastructure spending law.
President Joe Biden will meet Friday with about a dozen inspectors general (IGs) and other oversight officials, the White House said, along with other administration officials overseeing infrastructure spending.
Biden wants to empower IGs – independent government watchdogs – to ensure appropriate oversight of the big government spending plan approved in November.
The 14-page guidance memo, reviewed by Reuters and issued on Friday by White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young, says agencies must designate a senior official to be accountable for infrastructure spending implementation and to lead regular reviews.
Agencies should work with IGs as they design infrastructure programs and hold joint review meetings with IGs and OMB on significant programs, Young wrote.
The guidance says agencies should use “enterprise risk management practices … to identify and mitigate risks associated with achieving program results.”
An administration official told Reuters the federal government was working to hire about 8,000 people to implement the infrastructure law, with the majority to be hired in 2022. The guidance says the jobs include “human resources, contracting officers, grants managers, and data scientists.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote this week on Twitter the department “is ready to bring on thousands of new employees.” Buttigieg’s department is overseeing about $200 billion in competitive and discretionary grant programs.
The White House wants agencies to “transparently describe the criteria for investment decisions, set and track measurable goals, performance indicators, and milestones, use data to measure and evaluate progress,” it said in a fact sheet.
The guidance directs agencies to make it easier for underserved communities including tribal and territorial governments to access federal resources, and says agencies must report monthly infrastructure spending to government website USAspending.gov for public disclosure.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Bradley Perrett and Chizu Nomiyama)