The Washington Post

Dem congressman: Cut the luxury government rides


Luxury limos are a small fraction of the federal government’s vehicle fleet, and the Homeland Security and State departments operate almost all of the U.S. government’s 130 limousines, save for five used by USAID, according to General Services Administration 2012 data. But at least one Deep South Democratic congressman thinks that’s 65 limos too many.

Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) introduced legislation late last week calling for a 50 percent reduction in the federal government’s limo ownership in fiscal 2015. The number of taxpayer-funded limos jumped in the first two years of the Obama administration, with 412 in the government fleet in 2010. But in the last two years it’s been cut by around two-thirds. (Government agencies have 650,061 vehicles in all.)

But that’s more about accuracy than austerity. Turns out agencies had been misreporting their types of vehicles, counting vans and bus shuttles as limos. More accurate reporting — a limo is now specifically defined by GSA as “a vehicle with a lengthened wheelbase, generally driven by a dedicated driver” — explains the drop in government limo use, not a concentrated effort to cut, although an administration official pointed to an Obama directive in 2011 to reassess the size of the government fleet as a factor.

Still, Barrow thinks more cuts could be had.

“No one questions the need for safe and secure travel for our top government officials and foreign dignitaries, but in hard times you can have too much of a good thing,” Barrow told the Loop in an e-mail. His office estimates it could amount to millions in savings, but didn’t have an exact figure. Barrow, a moderate Democrat, fighting for his re-election, has pinpointed a series of small government costs to eliminate in the name of weeding out wasteful spending.

Also on the chopping block? Tax deductions for legal brothels.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Don’t be ‘that’ sports parent | On Parenting
Miss Manners: The technology's changed, but the rules are the same
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
Kids share best advice from mom
Using Fitbit to help kids lose weight
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
Transgender swimmer now on Harvard men's team
Portland's most important meal of the day
Play Videos
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Colby Itkowitz · March 31, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.