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 U.S. Department of Agriculture's FY22 appropriations designated $405.2 million for 287 of these projects.
This report looks at when USDA 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.
USDA: Where did the FY 2022 funding go?
What GAO Found
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 designated $405.2 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 287 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 USDA expects recipients will have access to the funds:
The intended uses of these funds are to support a variety of efforts, including improving access to broadband and other social infrastructure in rural communities, expanding agricultural research efforts, and managing forests.
The designated recipients of these funds are mostly tribal, territorial, state, and local governments and higher education and other nonprofit organizations. The remaining recipients are subunits of USDA. Funding ranged from $17,000 to $39.7 million, with projects located in 45 states and territories.
USDA plans to obligate funds to recipients by September 2023 and recipients will have between 1 and 5 years or more to spend the funds, depending on the project.
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 Steve Morris at (202) 512-3841 or email@example.com.