The U.S. Government Accountability Office, a government watchdog agency that advises Congress, concluded Thursday that the hold President Trump ordered his Office of Management and Budget to place on Ukraine military assistance violated the law.
“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” a GAO opinion said. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”
The opinion outlined the reasons holds can be legally placed on congressionally authorized funding, and said the rational given for freezing the Ukraine aid did not fit within those reasons.
“The burden to justify a withholding of budget authority rests with the executive branch. Here, OMB has failed to meet this burden. We conclude that OMB violated the ICA when it withheld USAI funds for a policy reason,” the GAO said.