Democrats in the House are doubling down on proposed legislation to block military funds from being spent at properties owned by President Donald Trump, following reports that Air Force personnel stayed at the president's Turnberry resort in Scotland.
The House voted in July to bar the Defense Department from spending money at nearly five dozen Trump properties worldwide — including Trump Turnberry — as part of annual defense policy legislation.
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"The House sent a clear message by adopting our amendment in July that we will not allow taxpayer funds, including the defense budget, to be used to enrich the President," Rep. Don Beyer, one of the sponsors of the proposal, told POLITICO in a statement Monday.
"As alarming details emerge about US Air Force crews staying at the President’s luxury golf resort in Scotland, it has become even more important that Congress include this language in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act," the Virginia Democrat added. "The President has already shown a willingness to violate the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, and Congress has a duty to use every tool we can to stop him.
The provision blocks the Pentagon from spending money at 57 specific Trump properties. Under the provision, Trump could waive the ban if he reimburses the Treasury Department for the expenses. The amendment was co-sponsored by Democrats Ted Lieu of California, Beyer, Pramila Jayapal of Washington state and Steve Cohen of Tennessee and was adopted in a 223-205 vote.
Republicans criticized the proposal as impractical and a partisan stunt meant to embarrass Trump. The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are poised hammer out a compromise defense bill later this month.
POLITICO first reported that an Air National Guard crew stayed at the Turnberry resort at stops in Scotland on the way to and from from the Middle East in March, and that the House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating military spending at Turnberry and the nearby Prestwick civilian airport. Following the report, the Air Force said it is reviewing how it chooses accommodations on such flights.