Politics

Trump pushes back against congressional oversight for $500 billion bailout fund

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump attend briefing about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday wrote in a signing statement accompanying the $2 trillion stimulus bill that he believes the inspector general overseeing a $500 billion relief fund for businesses will not have as much regulatory power as Democrats had sought.

The bill includes a $500 billion fund that companies, such as the struggling airlines, can tap to support their business. The fund is overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. In original drafts of the Republican Senate bill, Mnuchin had wide discretion in overseeing that money. After criticisms from Democrats, Republicans agreed to add on a congressional oversight committee and Inspector General as added control measures.

The language gives the Inspector General power to report back to Congress information including the nature of the loan and its recipients. It has the power to make informational requests from other agencies “to extent practicable and not in contravention of any existing law.” It is required to let Congress know if those requests are blocked.

Trump, though, said Friday he believes the Inspector General needs his permission in order to make such…



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