Schumer praises choice of Defense inspector general to oversee corporate lending fund

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday praised the choice of Department of Defense acting Inspector General Glenn Fine to head the oversight of a $454 billion corporate lending facility that Democrats have panned as a corporate “slush fund.”

“Glenn Fine has a good reputation as a tough federal prosecutor and former [Department of Justice] Inspector General, and must exercise his full oversight authority to ensure that the Trump administration implements the CARES Act as intended,” Schumer said in a statement.

The $2 trillion CARES Act that Congress passed last week to respond to the coronavirus crisis gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Federal Reserve broad authority to make loans and set up credit facilities for a range of corporations.

Democrats insisted on setting up an inspector general and a five-member congressional oversight committee to review lending and credit decisions, sparking friction with the administration.

Trump declared in a signing statement Friday that he would supervise the inspector general’s report to Congress on how the $454 billion corporate rescue fund is used. 

Schumer warned the administration Monday that all decisions would be thoroughly vetted. 

“Democrats built robust, multilayered accountability and transparency mechanisms in the CARES Act to ensure taxpayer funds are properly used to protect workers and the American people. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee is critical to holding President Trump and his administration accountable to the letter and spirit of the law,” he said in his statement.

Congressional leaders also need to pick the members of the congressional oversight panel, which some Republicans say is duplicative of the regular oversight duties of the Senate and House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) each get to select a member to the oversight committee.

McConnell and Schumer must agree on appointing the panel’s chairman.

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