Four House lawmakers this week introduced a bipartisan bill that would prohibit members of Congress from flying first-class using taxpayer funds.
The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.), would require lawmakers to follow the same rules as executive-branch employees who travel on the government’s dime, with exceptions to accommodate disabilities or medical needs.
“At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using taxpayers’ hard-earned money to buy luxury airline seats,” Gosar said in a joint statement with the other lawmakers.
Barrow said members of Congress who are concerned about fiscal responsibility should support the bill. “It’s not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending — we should set a good example, and not spending other people’s money on first-class travel is a good place to start.”
The bill’s backers also took issue with lawmakers having fewer restrictions on travel costs than American troops. “If our men and women in uniform are restricted from buying first-class airfare, the same should apply to Congress,” Ruiz said.
Similar to the provisions in the House bill, Barrow this year requested that the House Appropriations Committee insert language in the 2015 spending bill to bar federal funds from going toward first-class airfare for lawmakers.
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