Chairman Yarmuth on GAO Legal Opinion that Trump Administration Illegally Withheld Ukraine Aid

Jan 16, 2020
Decision states OMB violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974

Washington, D.C. – House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (KY-03) released the following statement after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its legal opinion stating that the actions taken by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (ICA)

“Today’s legal opinion from our government’s independent, non-partisan watchdog confirms President Trump broke the law by withholding critical security assistance for Ukraine. This is only the latest proof that he brazenly and knowingly abused his power – ignoring repeated Congressional warnings against abuse and illegal impoundments.”

“The Budget Committee is pursuing legislation to provide much needed reforms that will protect Congress’ constitutional power of the purse, increase transparency of the Executive Branch, strengthen safeguards to deter future lawbreaking, and rein in abuse and overreach. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in restoring accountability to the White House. In the United States, no one should be above the law. Not even the president.”

In less than two months, GAO has issued two separate legal opinions determining OMB engaged in unlawful activities and violated key budget laws -- the Anti-Deficiency Act and the Impoundment Control Act. Chairman Yarmuth and budget leaders in the House and Senate expressed concern about ICA violations early on, calling attention to OMB’s “increasingly dubious and politicized applications of budget law,” and the agency’s involvement in the withholding of foreign aid -- including millions in Ukraine security assistance.

Following a partial document production from OMB, the House Budget Committee outlined OMB’s abuse of the apportionment process and called for increased transparency and accountability.  


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