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Circumventing Congress

Richard Slone



When President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid Act allocating more than $2 trillion last week he added a “Signing Statement” altering legislation passed unanimously by both branches of the Legislature. The Act required the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) to report unreasonable denials of loans to the Congress “without delay.” The President’s signing statement said such reports must be approved by the President before being reported to Congress. The Act requires officers consult with congressional committees when spending reallocating funds. The President said conferring with congressional committees will not be a requirement. He also listed several other directives in the legislation and said his administration “will continue the practice of treating provisions like these as advisory and non-binding.”

The Act allowed people on Social Security to receive stimulus checks of up to $1,200. The Trump administration issued rules that would have cut millions of seniors out of receiving stimulus checks by requiring them to file a tax form. Those rules were revised to say filing tax forms is not required after significant backlash from senior citizens.

The Act mandated 12 weeks of paid leave for workers in small companies whose children are home from school or child care. The Trump administration rescinded that mandate last Wednesday suggesting child care is not a critical need.

The Trump administration has reduced oversight and not tried to block money going to banks or big business, but they recognize unemployed workers, parents and senior citizens as pilferers needing close attention as they circumvent legislation passed unanimously by 535 elected representatives. Trump says he cares about people, but his actions paint a different picture.