WASHINGTON (AP) - A congressional inquiry has found New York failed to follow instructions from Congress on the spending of $44 million in Sept. 11 aid and should give the money back or get lawmakers to pass a law allowing the expenditure.
A New York official countered Tuesday night that if the federal government persists with the effort, it would have to take the money back directly from Sept. 11 victims.
``The federal government authorized these funds to go to 9/11 victims and their families in the first place, and given that they originally approved it, it would be wrong for them years later to take the money back from victims,'' said Jon Sullivan, a spokesman for the state workers' compensation board.
The bad news for New York comes just as the House is considering whether to take back another $125 million in Sept. 11 workers' compensation aid because the state has yet to spend it nearly four years after the 2001 terror attack.
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a 10-page memo Tuesday that the Labor Department ``should seek recovery of $44 million improperly transferred'' or get specific congressional approval for New York's use of the money.
The GAO found the state was not entitled to distribute the $44 million through other agencies. The state used the other agencies because officials said it would be a quicker method of getting aid to victims.
Labor Department spokesman David James said the agency is ``reviewing the GAO legal memorandum to determine the course of action we will take.''
The House will consider later this week whether to take back an additional $125 million in unspent workers' compensation aid. The White House Office of Management and Budget has sought to retrieve the money because it has not been spent.
New York lawmakers vowed to hold onto the workers comp funding for future Sept. 11-related claims.
The GAO found the federal law that provided the $44 million did not allow it to be used that way.
In such instances, GAO lawyer Anthony Gamboa wrote, the funds ``must be recovered ... even when those expenditures have been incurred innocently.''
Jon Sullivan, a spokesman for the state workers' compensation board, defended the state's actions as ``fully appropriate'' and with clear permission from the Labor Department.
The federal government granted more than $20 billion to New York to help recover and rebuild after the attacks.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., had requested the original GAO investigation into the workers' compensation program run by the state, but on Tuesday said it made no sense for the government to start taking back even more money.
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06-07-2005, 11:33 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2004
U.S. to N.Y.: Return $44M in Sept. 11 Aid
06-08-2005, 12:39 AM #2
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
I'll have to read this again tomorrow when I'm not falling asleep ... maybe I'm missing something??!! Unfreakin'believableSeptember 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
06-08-2005, 09:41 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
Politics, Politics. If the ball were in my court, I'd tell the Feds to take a hike. I AM convinced of one thing though. It's time for New York City Government to be thrown in the Dumpster. The City is comprised of 5 Boroughs, which are, coincidentally, Counties. Why not the Cities of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond, Bronx, and Queens?? Each one would be totally separate from the others, from a Government standpoint. Face it, New York City, as it is now constituted, is too big to manage as a City.Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
In memory of
Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006
IACOJ Budget Analyst
I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.
06-08-2005, 09:51 AM #4
This is a touchy subject that obviously affects us as firefighters due to 9-11 but blame NY for not following the directions, yeah it sucks but if your FD doesnít follow directions on spending the money it gives you for specific reasons there are consequences and IMO this is basically the same thing just in a larger scale.******=================
------GOD BLESS AMERICA ! ------
06-08-2005, 10:20 AM #5
Warning, speculation follows....Originally posted by RspctFrmCalgary
I'll have to read this again tomorrow when I'm not falling asleep ... maybe I'm missing something??!!
So the GAO investigated and found some of the money had been funnelled to and distributed by some state agencies that weren't authorized to receive the funds from the feds. That's a completely innocent but technical violation of the law and the GAO reported it as such and added that under the law the Labor department should try to get the money back. They also said there's another very easy way to fix it - simply ask Congress to authorize the spending after the fact.
Enter the politics
The whole thing was started by a NY representative, who is now ducking and running for cover. Also you've got NY worker's comp officials taking cheap shots at the feds. They wouldn't dare be using this report to make themselves look like they're being picked on and maybe get to keep the unspent 125 million could they?
Here are a few points to consider:
1) The GAO can't do anything but make a recommendation. The DOL would have to make an effort to get the money back from the STATE, not the victims. The DOL quote of "reviewing the GAO legal memorandum to determine the course of action we will take." probably broadly translates to "no way in Hell will we try to get that money back."
2) 44 mil is a drop in the bucket at the congressional level. IF someone really tries to follow up on the report, you can bet Congress will simply authorize the spending after the fact.
Don't anybody get worked up about this, I guarantee you absoultely nothing will come of it.
Last edited by EFD840; 06-08-2005 at 10:23 AM.
06-13-2005, 04:18 PM #6
From what I know and have read about this is: The Feds want unspent proceeds that had very specific purposes. They are not taking a red cent from any victim or family. The City of NY wants to use the unspent proceeds for other needs or programs that had nothing to do with the original mandates. Typical of the tax and spend govt. of NYC.
Sort of like applying for the AFG Grant for a Tanker and using the money for turnout gear.Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them.
The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter!! Either side of the hill.
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