Democrats' coronavirus relief bill reins in president's ability to remove IGs

Democrats' coronavirus relief bill reins in president's ability to remove IGs
© Greg Nash

House Democrats included provisions in their $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would limit President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest MORE’s ability to remove inspectors general. 

The restriction requires the president to give Congress a 30-day notice before an inspector general is put on administrative leave. It also requires him to give Congress a reason for putting an IG on administrative leave, outlining acceptable reasons for removal.  

The move comes in response to a series of inspector general dismissals from the administration this year after Trump was acquitted on impeachment charges by the Senate in February.

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Acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine, who was charged with overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, was abruptly removed and replaced in early April. Fine had been designated to lead the coronavirus relief oversight panel.

The week before, Trump ousted Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson in what was seen as an effort to punish the inspector general for acting on a whistleblower complaint last year that first raised allegations of Trump’s improper contacts with Ukraine.

The $3 trillion relief package will likely pass Friday along party lines as lawmakers continue negotiations in the Republican-controlled Senate.

It's unclear how Senate Republicans, some of whom have been critical of the administration's dismissal of inspectors general, will address the provisions in their negotiations. 

Among other provisions, legislation provides additional funding for food assistance and state and local governments.