Oklahoma Senator Takes Stimulus To Task

Tuesday, April 14th 2009, 4:56 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6

UNDATED -- Not everyone is on board with the president's stimulus package.  Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn says the president's plan is doomed to failure.  Senator Coburn doesn't expect the president's stimulus plan to work as advertised and he says the administration's website to track where the money is going is not enough.

Oklahoma is set to get $2.6 billion in stimulus money.  Some of the funds will go to repair bridges in Mayes County, increase services for senior nutrition programs, and improve the quality of public housing.

But, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn says the stimulus package isn't all it is advertised and he expects much of the $700 billion plan to be misspent.

"I think tons of it will be wasted, about 20% to 25% will be wasted. The head of the IG (Inspector General) Office said $25 billion to $55 billion will be wasted. Think about that and just matter of factly said about $25 billion is going to be wasted," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

Another problem for the senator is the measures put in place to track the money.

President Obama created the recovery.gov website to allow anyone to keep track of the stimulus money.  But, Senator Coburn says the website does not go deep enough, its links only take you to websites for other states.

Instead, he says, another website, USAspending.gov, created in 2006 should serve as a model.  It tracks specific contracts and shows how much federal money each company is awarded.

Coburn says the president's website is simply not up to speed and won't be until late next year.

"You can say you're going to have accountability, but if there's nothing you can see for a year and a half what's going to happen to the first $250 billion that's going to be spent. We're not going to see it," said Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

Senator Coburn says he has three people on his subcommittee devoted to tracking stimulus money across the country and, so far, he hasn't uncovered anything unusual in Oklahoma.