On February 17th, 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) or Stimulus Package to restart the economy. The package contains extensive funding for science, engineering research and infrastructure, and more limited funding for education, social sciences and the arts.
There is a huge amount of transparency and accountability related to ARRA funding that is beyond typical practice associated with federal awards. ARRA requirements include the following:
• The government require quarterly ARRA reporting with quick turn-around times (i.e., within 10 days after the end of the quarter)
• Subrecipient data is required within those reports
• An estimate of the number of jobs created and retained
• Timely expenditure of funds; close adherence to purpose of spending and monitoring to ensure that fraud or waste does not occur
• Expectation of a government response if funds are not being spent "fast enough"
• Accurate tracking of each award and award completion status
• Cash management, including the draw down of ARRA funds, on an award-specific basis
• Anticipated implications for the A-133 audit
ARRA award recipients have a limited time to spend the funding, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in a recent accelerated spending announcement, requires that all ARRA funds be spent by September 30, 2013. Only a few exceptions will go beyond that date.
Columbia University established an ARRA project team and developed an intricate technical reporting system to ensure compliance with quarterly 1512 ARRA reporting.