The Washington Post

Dem congressman: Cut the luxury government rides

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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 the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
Quoted
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
Quoted
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.

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.