Trump chips away at Congress' role in coronavirus relief oversight

Trump’s intervention in Congress’s involvement in key aspects of the law could upset Congress Democrats who conditioned their support for the massive bailout package through increased oversight of the $ 500 billion fund to help distressed industries and businesses.

The offices of spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Some Democrats who were concerned about the prudential components of the new law said they were alarmed by the president’s declaration of signature.

“And that is exactly how Congress’s prudential regulations for the $ 1/2 trillion Wall St Slush fund (which * were * already too weak) are thrown away on the day the bill is signed.” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “This is a frightening amount of public funds that have been made available to a corrupt administrator without accountability.”

Trump’s decision to override the demand that Congress’s General Inspector have concerns about Congress recalls his treatment of the whistleblower complaint about Ukraine that ultimately led to his impeachment last year.

At that time, the Inspector General of Intelligence was trying to send a whistleblower complaint to Congress that Trump had misused his power by seeking Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 elections. But senior officials from the Department of Justice and the White House intervened and hindered the report from reaching Congress until subpoenas and a House Democratic pressure campaign forced him outside.

Trump now proposes in his signature statement that any legal requirement for an Inspector General to report to Congress is inherently inadequate without the President being able to make the final decision.

As part of the last measure, the Special Inspector General would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. He or she would be required to “conduct, monitor, and coordinate” examinations and investigations into the granting, buying, managing, and selling of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments undertaken by the Treasury Secretary under a program established by the Secretary Law. ”

The Inspector General is authorized to obtain information from any authority or department. In a section entitled “Refusal to Provide Requested Information”, the official must also report to Congress “immediately” if such information is not provided.

Coronavirus legislation also includes a second accountability measure endorsed by Democrats: the establishment of a “Pandemic Response Accountability Committee” to “promote transparency and behavior and support the monitoring of funds covered”.

According to the law, the chairman of the new committee is appointed by the chairman of the long-standing Council of Federal Inspectors, who in turn must discuss the appointment with Pelosi, Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Republican Chairman of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

Trump indicated that he would not stand in the way of voluntary communication with Congress. “However, the need to consult Congress on executive decision-making, including the President’s authority under Article II to oversee executive operations, violates the separation of powers by interfering with the President’s power and duty to fill the Executive branch monitor, “Trump wrote.

Trump closed his signature statement by rejecting several provisions of the new law that require the administration to recommend laws to Congress.

“”[M]The administration will continue to treat such provisions as advisory and non-binding, “he wrote.

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