President TrumpDonald John TrumpDefense industrial base workers belong at home during this public health crisis Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump ‘racist cowboy’ House leaders hope to vote Friday on coronavirus stimulus MORE on Friday suggested he has the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general can give Congress, with the watchdog charged with overseeing hundreds of billions of dollars in aid from the new $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
The law 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 MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Airbnb – House to pass relief bill; Trump moves to get US back to work The Memo: Economic disaster poses danger for Trump On The Money: Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package | Unemployment claims surge to 3.3 million | In three-day surge, stocks recover 20 percent of losses MORE.
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.