The chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee has asked GAO to review agency compliance with the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative which aims to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain government investments to historically disadvantaged communities.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said that she strongly supports the initiative and requested a report on “relevant environmental, racial, socio-economic, and labor standards that measure the equitable distribution of federal investments in order to fully assess the initiative’s progress, providing Congress the tools it needs to be an effective partner in ensuring its success.”
“Specifically, I request that GAO review the Justice40 framework and agencies’ implementation plans, monitor guidance and assistance provided to agencies, and report on implementation by individual agencies, with the goal of assessing the extent to which the initiative is succeeding in targeting federal investments to disadvantaged communities,” she wrote.
Programs affected by the initiative include those involving climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transportation, affordable and sustainable housing, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, clean water and infrastructure, and training and workforce development related to those areas.
Covered investments include various forms of grants, direct payments, procurement of goods or services for the government’s use, staffing costs, and other investments under such programs, while covered communities are those that qualify as “historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment in housing, transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure, and health care.”
Actions required of agencies that manage those programs include identifying the benefits of those programs, determining how they distribute benefits, and calculating and reporting on reaching the 40-percent goal.