N.M. Rep. Steve Pearce Pays $19,525 For Flight Despite Being ‘Fiscal Conservative’

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A New Mexico congressman, who is known for criticizing others for reckless spending, is catching some heat because of the cost of an overseas trip. Rep. Steve Pearce booked a $19,525 flight to Egypt in November 2012 that was paid for by taxpayers. The expensive ticket is ironic considering that Pearce is described by The Wall Street Journal as "a fiscal conservative who has made cutting wasteful government spending a hallmark of his tenure in the House."

Pearce’s spokesman, Eric Layer, defended the expensive ticket saying the Veterans Day trip was booked with less than two weeks' notice after a congressional delegation trip was canceled, The Huffington Post reported. Layer also emphasized that the costly trip was a worthwhile expenditure.

"Congressman Pearce spent six years in the military, three of which he spent in Vietnam," Layer said. "During his time in the military, especially his time overseas, not one politician ever visited, let alone spoke to him. Congressman Pearce is committed to not making the same mistake."

The U.S. military footed the bill for Pearce to travel to Ghana, the United Arab Emirates and Germany earlier this year.

"Get yourselves efficient," Pearce told New Mexico federal workers in January. “I encourage the people in New Mexico to lead by example. Tighten your own belt and you’ll find yourself a winner as these cuts happen.”

Pearce also had this remark about spending in 2012: "Turning a blind eye to the reckless spending habits of Washington will only result in greater economic crisis.”

Sources: The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal