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In January of 2009, passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) was the most immediate legislative priority for the incoming Obama administration. The need for speed in enacting the bill was driven by the increasing severity of the economic crisis that came to be known as “The Great Recession.” In fact, as additional data for the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 became available during early 2009, the sense of urgency increased. The recession was worse than the administration’s economic team had realized.
In an unusual show of speed, the Act was passed by Congress on February 13 and signed by the president on February 17, 2009. The intensely partisan debate about the Act only heightened the need to implement the sprawling $787-billion mandate well. Critics cited the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse and estimated numbers as high as five percent of the overall funding or almost $40 billion as the potential for mismanagement.
The president and the vice president acted swiftly after the bill was enacted and created a management structure that relied on innovative processes and technologies.
Download the full report, "Managing Recovery: A View From Inside."