WEST PALM BEACH — Mar-a-Lago may have weathered Hurricane Irma reasonably well, but the Winter White House of President Donald Trump now finds itself squarely in the path of Hurricane Congress!
A bill from Senate Democrats entitled the Heightened Oversight of Travel, Eating and Lodging Act—or, by it’s snappier abbreviation, the “Hotel Act”—would put a stop to members of the Executive Branch racking up more big-dollar costs at Trump properties.
Trump has widely been accused of trying to take advantage of his presidency to enrich himself and his family, particularly in Florida.
In January, the month of his inauguration, Trump doubled the initiation fee at Mar-a-Lago, and he visited the resort repeatedly with his sizable federal entourage through the winter months. The president even hosted heads of state from Japan and China at the posh West Palm Beach club.
No more, if Senator Gary Peters has his way.
“Executive branch officials like the president and cabinet secretaries should not have a profit motive in the travel decisions made by the federal employees under their supervision,” said Peters, a Democrat from Michigan and the main sponsor of the legislation, which he described as a “common sense bill.”
Senators Tom Udall and Elizabeth Warren—also Democrats, from New Mexico and Massachusetts respectively—are co-sponsors of the new bill.
Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was the recent Mar-a-Lago stay of an official at a rate of $1,092 for two nights on the government’s dime, a grossly excessive cost from the purported party of fiscal responsibility.
Lodging for the U.S. Secret Service would not be affected by the legislation, though agent expenses would nonetheless be carefully reviewed by the Office of Government Ethics.