As part of FY22 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of federal funding for specific projects in their communities.
While agencies often have discretion over how they award funds, Congress has directed them to distribute these funds to designated recipients. We're tracking the funds to help ensure transparency.
The Department of the Interior's FY22 appropriations included $117.2 million for 75 of these projects.
This report looks at when Interior plans to distribute the funds and how it plans to ensure they're spent properly.
We're also tracking these funds across government and at 17 other agencies.
Department of the Interior: Where did the FY 2022 funding go?
What GAO Found
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 appropriated $117.2 million to the Department of the Interior for 75 projects at the request of Members of Congress. The act includes specific provisions that designate an amount of funds for a particular recipient to use for a specific project. These provisions are called "Congressionally Directed Spending" in the U.S. Senate and "Community Project Funding" in the House of Representatives.
GAO described, among other things, information about the intended uses for these funds, the recipients to whom they were designated, and when Interior expects recipients will have access to the funds:
The intended uses of these funds are to support: (1) projects related to water resources in the western U.S.; (2) land acquisition projects for national parks, wildlife refuges, and national monuments; and (3) other projects related to Interior's mission.
The designated recipients of these funds are Interior; tribal, state, or local governments; and higher education and other nonprofit organizations.
Interior funds are available for immediate obligation. In contrast, where the recipient is a nonfederal entity, Interior is negotiating new grant agreements or contracts before the recipient can access the funds. Completing this process can take months. The amount of time Interior has to fully disburse these funds varies based on the account.
Why GAO Did This Study
The joint explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 includes a provision for GAO to review agencies' implementation of Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending.
For more information, contact Cardell Johnson at (202) 512-3841 or email@example.com.