That delegation of lawmakers that went to the Vatican to welcome Pope Francis might not have traveled in the style to which members of Congress are accustomed, but at least they didn’t have to shell out for their own tickets.
Per new post-sequester rules announced by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), members must fly commercial instead of taking military aircraft for overseas trips — and they have to pay for the privilege of no legroom and crummy in-flight food out of their own office budgets or their committee’s purse.
But this trip got a bit of special treatment. We’re told that members attending it did not, in fact, have to dip into their office budgets to buy tickets. Good thing, because a round-trip flight to Rome, on relatively short notice, can be pricey! Instead, the trip was paid for from a State Department account used for such official outings.
The group was led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and those attending included Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and House chaplain Patrick Conroy.