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House Democrats propose limiting White House spending power

House Democrats propose limiting White House spending power
An empty Pennsylvania Avenue leading to the U.S. Capitol is seen on April 22 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- House Democrats eager to limit White House spending authority introduced a bill Wednesday intended to increase transparency and heavily penalize violations.

House budget committee Chair Rep. John Yarmouth, appropriations committee Chair Rep. Nita Lowey and oversight committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney sponsored the 59-page Congressional Power of the Purse Act. Similar Senate legislation is expected from Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.

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The House bill, in preparation for months, addresses what Democrats in Congress see as a series of abuses by the executive branch of President Donald Trump in withholding or redirecting funding to benefit his personal and political agenda.

Trump's disputed actions include freezing military aid to Ukraine, efforts to cancel billions of dollars in foreign aid and a national emergency declaration to expedite construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Wednesday's legislation authorizes the General Accounting Office to find evidence of potential federal budget violations and streamlines the process by which the GAO can use the courts. It also strengthens congressional control and review of budget authority, extends GAO monitoring of the White House, seeks an end date for national emergencies and encourages Congress to review through non-partisan government agencies.

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Federal officials who are found to violate the law could lose their jobs or be suspended without pay.

The proposal "will make critical improvements to rein in President Trump's abuse of power, increase transparency in spending decisions and add teeth to budget law," Yarmouth said.

The Trump administration has regularly rejected any attempt by Congress to curtail its spending authority.

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