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As New Chair of Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, McCollum Seeks Oversight of Potential Abuses During Shutdown

January 23, 2019
Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) was officially confirmed as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Upon taking the gavel, an urgent priority for Rep. McCollum will be to conduct oversight of the Trump administration’s actions during the shutdown concerning the Department of Interior, EPA, and other agencies.

Congresswoman McCollum released the following statement:

“As Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I plan to hold the Trump administration accountable for its actions during the partial federal government shutdown, many of which appear to be violations of appropriations law. I’m disturbed by their decision to use entrance fees to pay for day-to-day operations of our national parks, when that money is meant for long-term improvements. I’m troubled about the Trump administration changing the rules in the middle of the shutdown to bring back certain furloughed employees to ensure oil and gas drilling permits and the companies benefiting from them don’t feel the pain of the shutdown. I’m concerned about the park rangers stationed as normal at a federal historic site that happens to be located within the Trump International Hotel. There are serious questions about the legality of these and other actions by the administration. I have formally requested that the U.S. Government Accountability Office testify before the committee so my fellow appropriators and members of the public can determine whether Trump administration actions constitute a misuse of taxpayer dollars under the Antideficiency Act or other provisions of law. Our subcommittee will also immediately seek testimony from members of the public, including environmental experts and advocates and tribal leaders, to inform our upcoming hearings with administration officials.

“Under my leadership, our subcommittee will not let this administration go unchecked. As Chair, I will make every effort to ensure this committee not only makes smart investments to protect public health and safety and our natural resources – but also serves as a watchdog for how federal funds under our purview are spent. It’s essential that government leaders be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. If this administration is breaking the law and exceeding the intent of Congress to unlawfully move appropriated funds, the American people deserve to know about it.”

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