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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

The Hill: GOP leaders prevent votes to ban federal spending at Trump businesses

September 6, 2017
In The News

House GOP leaders won’t be allowing votes this week on Democratic proposals to prevent taxpayer funds from benefiting businesses owned by President Trump.

Multiple Democrats had filed amendments to a government spending package set to be considered on the House floor this week to ensure the president is not personally enriched by the federal government.

Reps. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) and Ted Lieu (Calif.), who are among the fiercest critics of the president, proposed measures to prohibit federal funds from being used to enter contracts with or spend money at Trump-owned businesses.

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also submitted an amendment prohibiting the Secret Service from spending money at entities owned or operated by Trump.

But the House Rules Committee, which decides how legislation is considered on the floor, declined to green-light votes on any of those proposals.

GOP leaders, wary of allowing floor votes that could divide Republicans or embarrass Trump, previously prevented votes on similar amendments to another national security-themed spending package in July.

"It is shameful that Republicans are allowing Trump to profit off the Presidency. History will look back on the President's actions as a brazen violation of our Constitution," Cohen said in a statement.

The high costs of protecting Trump, who has frequently traveled to his properties in New Jersey and Florida since taking office, are straining on the Secret Service budget. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles told USA Today in August that more than 1,000 agents have already hit the salary and overtime caps meant to last for the whole year. 

USA Today also found that the Secret Service has spent about $60,000 on golf cart rentals to protect Trump at his courses at Mar-a-Lago in Florida and Bedminster, N.J.

And in July, The Washington Post reported that the State Department spent more than $15,000 to book rooms at the Trump hotel in Vancouver when members of the Trump family attended its grand opening.

The House Rules Committee also declined to allow votes on amendments submitted by Democrats and one centrist Republican to keep intact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program shielding nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it is ending the program while giving Congress six months to enact a replacement. Only a limited number of current DACA recipients - those whose permits expire within the next six months - can apply by early October for a two-year renewal.

Multiple Democrats, including Reps. Julia Brownley (Calif.), Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Gerry Connolly (Va.) and Schiff, submitted amendments that would prohibit the Trump administration from deporting DACA recipients.

Centrist Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) also similarly filed amendments to keep DACA in place and prevent deportations of DACA beneficiaries.

But the Rules Committee did not grant votes on Curbelo’s amendments, either.

Congress is expected to pass a three-month funding extension later this month to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Yet House GOP leaders want to move the spending package this week to finish work on the annual appropriations bills for fiscal 2018 ahead of what's expected to be a longer-term deal in December.