Chairman Yarmuth Hits White House on “Deliberate and Disturbing” Step to Consolidate Power, Trample Executive Boundaries

Aug 19, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Following reporting by Politico detailing the White House’s push to sideline career officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in favor of political appointees with limited apportionment experience, Kentucky Representative John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, condemned the move by OMB as a ploy to advance President Trump’s personal agenda behind closed doors.

“This is a deliberate and disturbing step by the Trump Administration to consolidate power among political cronies, undermine Congress, and silence anyone who might stand in their way,” said Chairman Yarmuth. “When the Administration sought to illegally withhold vital aid to Ukraine last year, OMB leadership took the unprecedented step of stripping two career officials of their apportionment authority and handed it over to a novice political appointee willing to put the President’s personal agenda over our democratic institutions.

“Congress will not surrender its power of the purse or relinquish its checks on executive overreach. This alarming move by OMB Director Vought – a seeming replay of the same moves that led to impeachment – puts all Congressionally appropriated funds at risk of abuse and mismanagement by a power-hungry and desperate President hell-bent on dismantling our democracy.”

Chairman Yarmuth has already introduced legislation, the Congressional Power of the Purse Act, to protect Congress’ constitutional spending authority and increase transparency of the executive branch. The bill will require OMB to make apportionments publicly available, as well as publish the positions of officials with delegated apportionment authority and explain reasons for any changes in delegated authority. The bill will also strengthen existing budget and appropriations law, adding teeth to deter lawbreaking.

The House Budget Committee is committed to protecting our nation’s separation of powers and strengthening Congress’ power of the purse. The Committee will continue its work to hold the Trump Administration to account and ensure Americans’ tax dollars are spent in accordance with the needs of the American people and the laws of our nation.