Lawmakers planning to attend the funeral of Rep. C. W. "Bill" Young (R-Fla.) will be able to fly to the Sunshine State aboard U.S. military aircraft -- an exception to an austerity-era rule restricting congressional use of government aircraft.
The office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is arranging for a flight Thursday from Andrews Air Force Base to Florida to attend Young's funeral, with the aircraft scheduled to return Thursday evening, according to House aides. The decision comes even though Boehner earlier this year put in place rules requiring House lawmakers to seek permission from Boehner to use military aircraft on overseas trips, including trips to visit U.S. military service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration.
In March Boehner required the House delegation attending the installation mass for Pope Francis to fly on a commercial aircraft to Rome.
So why the exception for Young? Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an e-mail that "Given Rep. Young's long and distinguished service to his Congressional district, and especially to the men and women of our Armed Forces, the rule against military aircraft is waived for his funeral."