Three members of the House are asking Appropriations Committee leaders to insert language in this year’s budget for Congress that blocks lawmakers from booking first-class tickets on the taxpayers’ dime.
“Members of Congress are public servants of the people and shouldn’t be considered a privileged class,” states the letter from Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and Walt Jones (R-N.C.).
“As such, we must be judicious in the travel expenses that are paid for with federal funds,” the congressmen continue. “Luxury airfare accommodations utilizing taxpayer monies would seem inappropriate in any fiscal climate, but at a time of soaring deficits and with a federal debt in excess of $17 trillion, such expenditures are especially wasteful.”
The requested language in the appropriations bill “allows for reasonable exceptions like accommodating a disability or other substantiated medical need” and “seeks to codify language that is in line with requirements for travel by employees in the Executive Branch.”
“If federal restrictions prohibit members of our military from traveling first-class, this same standard should also apply to Members of Congress.”
Travel between Washington and a member’s home district comes out of the taxpayer-funded member’s allowance.
“We in Congress have a responsibility to wisely use the American people’s money,” Jones said. “Representatives should never secure their own luxury travel at taxpayer expense, but they especially should not do so when our nation is buried in $17 trillion of debt.”