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Democrat Rep. Targets Trump's Business Interests

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A Democratic congressman has proposed an amendment to a House national security bill to prevent President Donald Trump's businesses from profiting from public funds.

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia said his amendment would prohibit federal funds from being used to book hotel rooms at properties owned by the Trump organization, The Hill reports.

The amendment proposes allowing Defense Secretary James Mattis to have a personal waiver from the prohibition if national security requires it.

"This amendment is necessary due to the president's unprecedented failure to divest from his business, and the ongoing entanglement between the Trump organization and the White House," Beyer told The Hill in an email on July 21. "Donald Trump should not be allowed to line his or his family's pockets with taxpayer dollars."

Since coming to office, Trump has frequently spent weekends at his properties in Florida and New Jersey. He recently held a fundraiser for his re-election at Trump international Hotel in the District of Columbia, drawing criticism from Democrats.

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The Washington Post reported on July 12 that the U.S. Department of State spent more than $15,000 to book 19 rooms for members of the Trump family who attended the grand opening of a Trump hotel in Vancouver. The cost included rooms for the president's two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Tiffany.

Representatives in the House also tabled amendments to defense legislation in a bid to prevent the Trump organization from profiting.

Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California introduced an amendment requiring that no U.S. Department of Defense funds "be used to conduct business, including the purchase of hotel rooms or conference space, with any entity owned by or significantly controlled by the president or a member of the president's immediate family," The Hill reports.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona tabled a separate amendment calling on the Office of Government Ethics to review all security clearance applications from members of Trump's family. The review would investigate "whether they have substantial commercial relationships with foreign enterprises or financial institutions and, if so, whether a relative should be ineligible for a security clearance as a consequence of such a relationship."

A bipartisan amendment introduced by Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran of Arizona would require Mattis to provide quarterly reports on Trump's travel expenses, covering "the direct and indirect costs to the [Defense Department] in support of presidential travel, including costs incurred to properties owned by the president or his immediate family."

Republicans have the power to determine which amendments will be voted on during the passage of the national security legislation. It is therefore considered unlikely that Beyer's initiative will be voted on, The Hill notes.

Sources: The Hill(2) / Photo credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House, The White House, Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons

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