Congress slipped a small provision into the funding bill to block another Ben Carson-like fiasco

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

  • Congress’s new spending bill includes a provision to block Cabinet secretaries or other presidential appointees from spending more than $US5,000 on their offices without alerting Congress first.
  • The change comes after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $US139,000 on a new door for his office.
  • And after Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spent $US31,000 on a dining set.

Congress is cracking down on fancy office redecoration by members of the presidential administration.

In the new omnibus funding bill, released Wednesday, a small provision would force members of the president’s cabinet from making large purchases for their offices without notifying Congress first.

The provision comes after multiple members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet spent significant amounts on office redecoration.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drew criticism for spending $US139,000 on the construction of a new office door.

And Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, came under intense for spending $US31,000 on a new dining set for his office. Carson later blamed the purchase on his wife.

Here’s the language in question:

“During the period in which the head of any department or agency, or any other officer or civilian employee of the Federal Government appointed by the President of the United States, holds office, no funds may be obligated or expended in excess of $US5,000 to furnish or redecorate the office of such department head, agency head, officer, or employee, or to purchase furniture or make improvements for any such office, unless advance notice of such furnishing or redecoration is transmitted to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

To assure no loopholes, the bill also specifies that the official’s office includes the entire office suite – not just the main room – and “any other space used primarily by the individual.”