Yet, as the Trump administration begins pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into the economy, none of the built-in oversight mechanisms are even close to functional. And their absence will soon be glaringly obvious as the gusher of cash and extraordinary new power granted to the administration fuels massive logjams, headaches and fear across overburdened hospitals, overcrowded unemployment offices and many sectors of the ailing economy.
Congressional leaders have appointed just one of five members to a commission to serve as lawmakers’ eyes on Trump administration decisions for a $500 billion fund for distressed industries. An inspector general nominated by President Donald Trump intended to provide a second check has already generated controversy among Democrats and is unlikely to see swift Senate confirmation. And a panel of federal watchdogs meant to be a third independent overseer was upended Tuesday when Trump sidelined its chairman, setting back the one mechanism that appeared on track to begin oversight.
Trump has also indicated he might ignore additional protections built into the law meant to keep Congress apprised of any concerns about mismanagement, issuing a signing statement that said it would be unconstitutional to require Executive Branch watchdogs to report any obstruction in their investigations, unless Trump himself approves.