Administration

Trump asserts power to decide what info inspector general gives Congress about stimulus package

President Trump on Friday suggested he has the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general post can give Congress. The watchdog will be tasked with overseeing hundreds of billions of dollars in aid from the new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.

The bill signed into law on Friday creates a special inspector general for pandemic recovery (SIGPR), tasked with tracking loans, loan guarantees and other expenditures made by the Treasury Department. The legislation authorized the position for five years.

Democrats had demanded that the inspector general position be included in the bill. The watchdog, who will need Senate confirmation, is charged with oversight of $500 billion in corporate aid that will be controlled and doled out by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

As part of its oversight, the SIGPR will have the power to request information from the Treasury Department and other federal agencies while auditing loans and investments made through the fund.

But in a statement Friday evening after signing the stimulus package into law, Trump asserted that the SIGPR would not be allowed to go to Congress if the agencies refused to hand over specific information, saying that it was “unreasonable.”

“I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause,” Trump said.

A Democratic aide told Bloomberg that lawmakers had anticipated the president’s move and had pushed for multiple forms of accountability, such as a congressional panel, to provide proper oversight of the funds.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Tags coronavirus stimulus package Donald Trump oversight Steven Mnuchin

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