As an addendum to Steve’s post about the politics of federal economic stimulus, we should keep in mind that the Trump administration is not a ‘normal’ one by the standards of the last few decades. It is much more lawless, contemptuous of congressional oversight, and incompetent.
- The president was quite literally impeached for 1) violating the Impoundment Control Act in order to coerce a foreign government into manufacturing dirt on a political rival and 2) a blanket refusal to comply with congressional investigations.
- He has systematically purged everyone who balked at his illegal hold on aid to Ukraine.
- The president has abused national emergency powers to fund his pet white elephant project, despite explicit disapproval from congress.
- The administration is doing its best to use regulatory authority to make it more difficult for people to receive government assistance.
So one naturally has to ask what kinds of safeguards Speaker Pelosi has placed in the stimulus package before she hands hundreds of billions of dollars over to Donald Trump to play with. How much discretionary authority have they vested in his adminstration?
In the face of a crisis, it’s easy to default to the assumption that because the White House is working with Congress to come up with solutions, it follows that the executive branch will use appropriated funds exclusively in ways that serve the national interest.
Unfortunately, that’s a terrible assumption when it comes to the Trump administration. And Speaker Pelosi knows it.