Press Releases

Waters Condemns Trump Signing Statement on Bipartisan COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

Washington, DC, March 31, 2020

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, made the following statement regarding President Trump’s signing statement on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

“This President’s signing statement on the CARES Act is outrageous and unacceptable. It is a brazen attempt to subvert the oversight measures in this legislation that were made law by an overwhelming bipartisan consensus. Congress carefully and intentionally included provisions in the legislation to ensure accountability and independent oversight over any funds provided to corporations by the Trump Administration.

“Specifically, the law creates several oversight entities including a new watchdog office, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), to closely scrutinize every dollar spent in the administration of the $500 billion Treasury program created by the legislation. It is appalling that this President is already undermining that independent oversight office by declaring that he will ignore provisions in the law requiring this Inspector General to report to the Congress if his Administration refuses to provide the watchdog with information. This is not a new requirement, as Congress included an identical transparency mandate when it established a Special Inspector General to oversee the bank bailouts in 2008. The President’s statement suggests, however, that he does not want the public or Congress to know how his Administration will use $500 billion of taxpayer funds that Congress allocated, and that he will ignore the law to avoid transparency.

“The President also states that he does not feel bound to consult with Congress on how the money in the $2.2 trillion relief package will be spent. It is a slap in the face of every one of my colleagues who strove to create a bipartisan package to have the President further undermine Congress’s power of the purse, and is not the way in which this country will get through this crisis. I will be closely following the President’s implementation of the law, and I urge all members of the cabinet to fully and robustly consult with the relevant congressional committees to ensure that these funds are being used to benefit all of the American people.”

The CARES Act provision to create a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) is similar to a bill authored by Representative Dean Philips (D-MN), H.R. 6319, which is included in Chairwoman Waters’ coronavirus response package.

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