Report: Congressional Oversight of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

A new report released by the Northeast-Midwest Institute on Congressional oversight of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) examines the committees in Congress that have conducted oversight of the IIJA to date in 2022. Through observation of various Congressional committee hearings conducted in fiscal year 2022, the report lays out the work Congress has done thus far on IIJA implementation.

As Congress works on spending for fiscal year 2023, key committees are engaged in oversight of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that was passed into law last November. Since this historic bill was signed nine months ago, various Congressional committees have examined how the 350+ programs provided with funding under the IIJA are spending federal funds to serve communities around the nation. During a total of ten Congressional hearings to date, Congressmen and Senators have taken the opportunity to both praise and question many of the programs funded in the IIJA. 

Congress has taken two approaches to overseeingimplementation of IIJA funds: expressing informed criticism, and voicing significant concerns over the investments to date. House members have been especially critical of IIJA as many members of Congress have had problems in infrastructure delivery around transportation and broadband for years that have not been addressed. Members are especially critical of the arduous rules limiting the ability to get funds to communities with a limited federal affairs team.

Many of the members of the House have been concerned that the funding provided in the IIJA is not relevant or is inadequate to solve the problems with transportation systems and are especially concerned with the highway trust fund to which $350 billion is to be provided during the next five years. 

The report also quantifies general aspects of the Congressional oversight to date:

  • Seven of the ten hearings to date were in March, June, and July, with three in March, two in June, and two in July.
  • In five of the hearings, state and local leaders provided their perspectives on the IIJA’s implementation.
  • In four of the hearings, various outside organizations spoke of the difficulties that their constituents face, emphasizing transportation and natural fuel reclamation.
  • Three committees lead the oversight: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; House Natural Resources; and House Transportation and Infrastructure. Two other committees have held one hearing each:  Senate Environmental and Public Works; and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation.

To read the full NEMWI report on Congressional oversight of the IIJA, go here.