Dems launch effort to cut off White House salaries for Gorka and Miller

Dems launch effort to cut off White House salaries for Gorka and Miller
© Greg Nash

A pair of House Democrats unveiled proposals on Friday to cut off the salaries of controversial White House aides Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

California Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman and Barbara Lee submitted amendments to a government spending package expected on the House floor after Labor Day.

The language of their amendments prohibit the use of federal funds to pay the salaries of Miller and Gorka, specifically naming both aides in the legislative text.

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Miller makes $179,700 annually as an assistant to the president and senior adviser for policy, while Gorka earns $155,000 as a deputy assistant to the president and strategist, according to an official list of White House salaries.

The lawmakers submitted their amendments a week after Stephen Bannon resigned as President Trump’s chief strategist and returned to his post leading Breitbart News, which he once described as “the platform for the alt-right.”

Miller previously worked as communications director for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz's former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s phone MORE while he was serving in the Senate. Gorka, meanwhile, was a former national security editor at Breitbart.

Huffman and Lee accused Miller and Gorka of encouraging white supremacists, citing Miller’s involvement in Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries and Gorka's work at Breitbart.

"The removal of Steve Bannon is an important first step in rooting racism from the White House. But, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller's continued presence in the West Wing ensure that Steve Bannon's sick ideology will persist in this Administration. Now is the time for Congress to take a clear stand against hate and refuse to authorize salaries of White House officials who embrace the views of white supremacists, white nationalists and Neo-Nazis,” Lee said in a statement.

Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist, told Vanity Fair that he mentored Miller while they were both at Duke University. But Miller has disputed that account and told Mother Jones in 2016 that “I completely repudiate his views, and his claims are 100 percent false.”

Gorka drew controversy for wearing a medal from a Hungarian order, Vitezi Rend, that was founded by an ally of Adolf Hitler. But he has said he wore the medal to honor his late father, who was awarded it for fighting communism.

The House Rules Committee, which is controlled by the majority party leadership, will meet when Congress returns to Washington after Labor Day to decide if the amendments submitted by Huffman and Lee will get floor votes.

Given GOP leaders’ desire to publicly stay out of Trump’s personnel controversies or stage uncomfortable votes relating to the president, the amendments are unlikely to be granted time on the House floor.