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The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date.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 Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.” 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.