President Biden promised on Monday to crack down on fraud and waste as his administration begins to roll out the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, criticizing President Donald Trump for failing to do so and thereby harming small businesses.
Biden said he plans to “stay on top of every dollar spent” on the American Rescue Plan through “fastidious oversight” to ensure there is no waste or fraud.
By contrast, he said the Trump administration’s decision to fire the head of the Inspectors General committee that was overseeing CARES Act funds rendered aid all but out of reach for many qualified small businesses.
“It instead became a free-for-all for well-connected companies and mainstream businesses from hardware stores to beauty salons that needed the help most were left behind,” Biden said. “Four-hundred thousand are now gone. We will not let that happen this time.”
As previously reported by FOX Business, there was a rise in fraud reports and suspicious activity last year as the Small Business Administration doled out hundreds of billions of dollars’ in Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster loans.
The Justice Department charged more than 50 people in September with trying to steal more than $175 million in PPP loans.
Earlier on Monday, Biden announced that former Obama and Clinton administration official Gene Sperling would oversee and support the implementation of the American Rescue Plan. Biden said on Monday afternoon that Sperling would be in constant communication with governors and mayors and would provide a source of guidance and accountability as the funding is administered and programs are set up.
The American Rescue Plan contains a number of provisions designed to help American families, including relief checks, extended unemployment insurance benefits, resources to help reopen schools and to help keep small businesses open, as well as funding for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Biden said the plan also includes the largest investment in childcare since WWII, and intends to both expand health care coverage and lower health care costs.