President Donald Trump is using the coronavirus bailout to keep up his long-running battle against congressional oversight, potentially laying the groundwork for yet another showdown with Congress, The Hill reported.
There are already an unprecedented number of court battles between the legislative and executive branches under his administration, with the stimulus package opening what could be yet another front.
Trump last week signed the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill but said he would ignore provisions directing the bailout’s overseers to consult with Congress, saying they posed “constitutional concerns” to the President’s ability to direct and control the executive branch.
The oversight provisions were included at the behest of Democratic negotiators and helped win the party’s support for the bill despite concerns about what they called a massive corporate “slush fund.” The provisions require a special inspector general for the program to make regular reports to Congress to ensure legislative oversight.
“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the [Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR)] to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision” required by the Constitution, Trump said in a signing statement.
“These provisions are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement with respect to the execution of the laws,” he added of another section requiring some officials to obtain permission from congressional committees for spending.
Trump said the administration would notify committees of their plans but would “not treat spending decisions as dependent on prior consultation with or the approval of congressional committees.”