House Republicans Hopeful Stimulus Oversight Committee Will Protect Taxpayers, Stop Waste

Former Erie congressman will serve on panel created to track how Pennsylvania uses roughly $18 billion from the massive spending plan signed into law in February.

Members of Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressional Delegation are encouraged that the Keystone State will be among the first in the nation to create an oversight committee to monitor economic stimulus spending.

Gov. Ed Rendell met with members of the delegation last week and agreed with GOP members’ recommendations that an oversight committee was needed. The governor also confirmed that he was creating an eight-member panel to monitor the $18 billion in economic stimulus funding.

The House GOP members selected former Congressman Phil English of Erie to serve as the delegations’ appointee on the panel. In addition to serving seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, English has experience dealing with federal and state programs in the Pennsylvania Senate and as Erie County Controller.

"The taxpayers of Pennsylvania deserve a guarantee from their elected representatives that their money will be spent wisely as it is invested to boost the state’s economy,” English said. “I look forward to working with the committee across party lines to protect the interest of taxpayers and make the stimulus transparent.”

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) said with billions of dollars at stake, oversight will be vital.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent, so I’m glad the governor is taking some strides toward transparency and accountability,” said Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District). “Pennsylvania needs to be efficient and effective in managing these funds, and I’m hoping this committee will help achieve that goal.”

“With such a massive amount of money being spent by the government in a short timeframe, it’s essential that we exercise effective oversight to make sure this money is being spent properly,” said Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16th District). “I am pleased Phil English will be a part of the effort. The committee will benefit greatly from the knowledge and expertise gained during his distinguished career as a public official.”

“The people of Pennsylvania expect their elected representatives to be good stewards of the public trust. Where the stimulus is concerned, it is essential that there be accountability and transparency in how Pennsylvania’s portion is spent,” said Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-9th District). “I am pleased to see Governor Rendell taking an active role in this effort.

“I am also pleased that Phil English will serve as the Republican appointee to the committee,” Shuster added. “There is no question that Phil has the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to oversee the proper distribution of the stimulus funds.”

“More so than ever before, responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars is paramount to the revitalization of our economy. And while I did not support this stimulus package and have serious doubts about its effectiveness, one thing is certain -- there needs to be oversight and transparency in the distribution of these federal dollars,” said Congressman GT Thompson (PA-5th District). “I applaud the Governor for taking this critical step and look forward to closely monitoring the committee’s work to ensure that taxpayer funds are not misused or abused.”