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McCollum, Lowey Statement on Interior’s Appalling Response to Critical GAO Report

September 6, 2019
Press Release
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement on the Interior Department’s response to the Government Accountability Office’s report on illegal conduct during the 2018-19 government shutdown:

“The Government Accountability Office, under the authority of the Comptroller General, has issued a legal decision that the Secretary violated appropriations law. The Secretary must respect this judgment, not resort to harsh partisan attacks. Instead, he appears to be continuing this administration’s alarming pattern of undermining our constitutional principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers.

“The power of the purse rests with Congress, and it is imperative that the Interior Department now bring itself into compliance with the law. Secretary Bernhardt owes Congress and the American people the legally-required plan for how they will remedy the damage caused by misappropriating funds.”

The Government Accountability Office, often referred to as the "congressional watchdog," is an independent, nonpartisan agency that examines how taxpayer dollars are spent. They are charged with safeguarding taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people and they provide Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable reports, testimonies, and legal decisions.