Pascrell Assails Republican Oversight Obstruction
House GOP does not endorse measure that would impose oversight on chaotic Trump administration
Washington, DC, September 5, 2018
Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) blasted House Republicans after the House Ways and Means Committee voted to send H.Res. 1018, a resolution of inquiry that seeks information on the Trump administration’s chaotic trade policies, to the House floor without recommendation.
“Another day, another Republican stonewall. Our resolution isn’t controversial. We are seeking simple answers on the considerations guiding this President’s increasingly volatile trade policy. What is the strategy? What is the plan? These aren’t hard questions. But damned if House Republicans aren’t doing everything to keep this administration from being brushed with a sliver of sunlight. They won’t even convene trade hearings with administration witnesses despite our repeated calls. Trade authority belongs to the legislature. But under Republicans, our oversight powers are covered with dust and cobwebs, untouched since January 19, 2017. It’s an embarrassing dereliction. Americans deserve a congress that does its job, not one that sees its mission as bodyguarding the White House.”
If passed by the House of Representatives, H.Res. 1018 would require the Trump White House to transmit to the House of Representatives any documents or communications relating to its decision to impose “global,” rather than targeted, tariffs of 10 and 25 percent under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It would also obtain records related to the Trump administration’s strategy for negotiations with the Chinese government to resolve the technology transfer and intellectual property problems under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Lastly, it would obtain information regarding any plans to mitigate retaliatory tariffs.
Resolutions of inquiry are one of the methods used by the House to obtain information from the executive branch. Such resolutions traditionally direct the White House and heads of executive departments to furnish information. The committee which has jurisdiction over a specific resolution will have 14 legislative days from its introduction to consider the resolution. If the committee has not acted on it within that frame, either favorably or unfavorably, it is sent to the House floor for consideration.
Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in the House in seeking to impose scrutiny on Trump administration corruption. He has repeatedly called for the Congress to compel the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns, his motions blocked every single time by nearly united Republicans. Rep. Pascrell has been one of Congress’s most vocal voices calling for greater oversight of Donald Trump’s use of the pardon power, introducing a resolution of inquiry with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) into Trump’s pardon abuse which Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee also blocked. Rep. Pascrell has introduced two resolutions of inquiry seeking information on Trump’s personal and business tax returns and other financial information that has remained hidden from public scrutiny.