Lawmakers push to see bill for Fourth of July celebration

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — It’s been a week since President Donald Trump took the stage at the Lincoln Memorial for his Fourth of July celebration—and lawmakers want to see the bill.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, want the Office of Government Accountability to investigate the full cost and legality of Trump’s “Salute to America.”

Van Hollen says the Interior Department, which is in charge of the National Mall, has failed to disclose the costs of the event, even to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“No president—Republican or Democrat —should be spending lots of taxpayer money to put on a party to pat themselves on the back,” Van Hollen said Thursday.

He also says Trump politicized the holiday.

“It was so disappointing to see President Trump try to turn this into a day to glorify himself,” Van Hollen added.

Now, Van Hollen wants to know where the funds came from to cover the costs of the event, especially when the money was already earmarked for other purposes.

“They did essentially steal $2.5 million from the National Park Service, and that means that the National Park Service is going to short-change some of their other priorities,” he said.

In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, Van Hollen, Leahy and Udall asked for an investigation into whether the expenses complied with appropriations law and restrictions on political activity.

In spite of objections from Democrats, Trump says his Salute to America was such a success he plans on hosting it again next year.

The president says the event was special and inclusive for all Americans.

“We celebrated freedom in all of its magnificence while saluting our great military,” Trump said. “It was something really special.”

In the meantime, Van Hollen maintains that taxpayers have a right to know how the president spent their money.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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