March 20, 2009
Special Report on "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the Department of Energy
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law on February 17, 2009, as a way to jumpstart the U.S. economy, create or save millions of jobs, spur technological advances in science and health,and invest in the Nation's energy future. This national effort will require an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability to ensure that U.S. citizens know where their taxdollars are going and how they are being spent. As part of the Recovery Act, the Department of Energy will receive more than $38 billion to support a number of science, energy, and environmental initiatives. Additionally, the Department's authority to make or guarantee energy-related loans has increased to about $127 billion. The Department plans to isburse the vast majority of the funds it receives through grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and other financial instruments. The supplemental funding provided to the Department of Energy under the Recovery Act dwarfs the Department's annual budget of about $27 billion. The infusion of these funds and the corresponding increase in effort required to ensure that they are properly controlled and disbursed in a timely manner will, without doubt, strain existing resources. It will also have an equally challenging impact on the inherent risks associated with operating the Department's sizable portfolio of missions and activities and, this is complicated by the fact that, in many respects, the Recovery Act requirements represent a fundamental transformation of the Department's mission. If these challenges are to be met successfully, all levels of the Department's structure and it many constituents, including the existing contractor community; the national laboratory system; state and local governments; community action groups and literally thousands of other contract, grant, loan and cooperative agreement recipients throughout the Nation will have to strengthen existing or design new controls to safeguard Recovery Act funds.