Trump Says He’ll Ignore Key Oversight Provision in Stimulus Bill

President Donald Trump at a signing ceremony for a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill in the Oval Office on FridayErin Schaff/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump says he plans to ignore a key oversight provision in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress this week.

The stimulus bill Trump signed on Friday afternoon creates a “special inspector general” who is supposed to notify Congress “without delay” if government agencies refuse to provide information needed to conduct oversight of the loans the administration will be doling out. In a statement released Friday evening, Trump announced he will not allow the inspector general to report to Congress without “presidential supervision.”

“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [special inspector general] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3,” Trump wrote in a signing statement issued after he signed the bill. 

The new inspector general is tasked with auditing and investigating the nearly $500 billion of loans that can be made by the Treasury Department under the new bill. Trump will appoint the inspector general, who will then have to be confirmed by the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Friday night that Trump’s move was “not a surprise to anyone.” She added, “Congress will exercise its oversight,” explaining that there will be a panel appointed by the House looking at the loans, as well. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took a harsher line on Twitter:

The use of signing statements to declare the president’s intention to disregard parts of a new law predates Trump. According to the Congressional Research Service, President George W. Bush issued signing statements challenging more than 1,000 “distinct provisions of law” across 127 different bills. CRS noted that Bush was “particularly prolific in issuing signing statements” related to, among other things, “provisions that imposed disclosure or reporting requirements.” 

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate