Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Republicans Block Cohen Amendments to Prohibit Federal Spending at Trump-Owned Businesses, Hotels & Resorts

September 6, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – The House Rules Committee tonight blocked eight of the 16 appropriations amendments offered by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) to prohibit federal spending at Trump-owned hotels, resorts and other Trump-owned businesses. The other eight amendments have yet to be considered by the House Rules Committee The amendments were offered to the upcoming appropriations package that is scheduled to be considered on the House floor this week.

“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,” said Congressman Cohen. “The President’s refusal to divest from his privately owned businesses creates a conflict of interest when steering federal spending to his resorts and other businesses. It also continues to raise serious questions about his compliance with the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence, as well as the Constitution’s Domestic Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the President from receiving federal funds in excess of his official salary. The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment.”

Specifically, Congressman Cohen offered two amendments to each of eight upcoming appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2018: Interior & Environment; Agriculture & Rural Development; Commerce, Justice, & Science; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Labor, Health & Human Services, Education; State & Foreign Operations; and Transportation, Housing & Urban Development.  Half of his amendments prohibit federal funds from being spent at Trump hotels and resorts. The other half of his amendments prohibit federal funds from being spent at Trump-owned businesses identified in his financial disclosures.

According to press reports, President Trump spent 40 of his 181 full days in office – approximately 22 percent of his days in office -- at a Trump-branded golf course. It has also been reported that the Secret Service has spent $73,000 on golf cart rentals at Trump properties. The secret service has said they will run out of money to protect the President by September 30.

Congressman Cohen offered similar amendments to an appropriations package that passed the House in July, however the Republican majority blocked them from being considered on the House floor.

Congressman Cohen is helping lead a lawsuit filed by nearly 200 Members of Congress against President Trump for allegedly violating the U.S. Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.  The Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits the President from accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments without seeking and receiving Congressional authorization. More information about the lawsuit can be found here.

Congressman Cohen has announced he is drafting articles of impeachment for, among other things, potential violations of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Additional information on his impeachment announcement can be found here.