GAO Says That Trump White House Violated Law By Freezing Ukraine Aid
The Government Accountability Office, GAO, ruled on Thursday, in an eight-page report, that the White House budget office violated the law when it blocked $214 million of Department of Defense security assistance appropriated funds to Ukraine.
President Donald Trump‘s decision to withhold military aid had been at the center of the House of Representative’s impeachment hearings.
Trump had ordered the OMB to place the hold on crucial obligation funds back in July amid intense legal concerns by several White House administration officials.
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The report found that the block of the funds, which were appropriated to the Department of Defense for security assistance to Ukraine, had in fact, been illegal.
The Impoundment Control Act (ICA) does not permit the execution of presidential policies in place of the law. It also requires that the president send a direct message to Congress identifying the amount of the proposed rescission. The law mandates that the president include the reasons behind the rescission, along with budgetary, economic and programmatic impacts that the rescission would potentially have. None-of-which had been followed in the July 2019 security assistance block.
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the GAO stated in the eight-page report, which was released Thursday.
“I have never seen such a damning report in my life,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I mean, this is a nonpartisan thing. I read it twice…. To have something saying this is such a total disrespect of the law. It’s unprecedented.”
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