As House Republicans move to consider the first bills to fund the operations of the United States government next year, Democrats are hoping to force votes on plans that would prohibit federal workers from staying at hotels and other properties in which President Donald Trump has a financial interest.
The plans are being pushed by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, as Beyer hopes to bring them up for debate on four different funding bills that are scheduled to be voted on this week by the full House.
The format is the familiar “funding limitation” amendment, in which ‘none of the funds’ can be used by the feds for certain purposes – in this case, staying at a hotel that is either owned or operated by the Trump family.
The effort comes after press reports earlier this month, that the State Department spent over $15,000 to book rooms at the new Trump Hotel in Vancouver; the information was obtained by the Washington Post in a Freedom of Information Act request.
For the bill that funds the operations of Congress, and programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Military Construction, the language spelled out above would block government workers from spending money to “pay or reimburse lodging expenses of a Federal employee or official in the course of official Government travel or business at any hotel or property in which the President maintains a financial interest.”
For the spending bill that funds the operations of the Pentagon, Beyer’s plan would give the Secretary of Defense the power to waive those same prohibitions, “on a case-by-case basis,” on the grounds of national security.
But in the funding bill for Energy and Water programs, Beyer’s amendment gets specific, listing over three dozen different Trump properties in the U.S. and around the world.
It’s not clear if the plans will be considered during debate this week on these four funding bills, which are being grouped together into one ‘minibus’ funding measure, officially known as the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act.”
The House Rules Committee will meet on Monday to sort through amendments proposed to the bill by lawmakers, and determine which ones should be debated.