Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives continued their push for reforms on lawmakers using taxpayer dollars to purchase first-class seats when flying.
In May 2014, the “If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then So Should Congress Act” was crafted by Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Reps. Raul Ruiz of California and John Barrow of Georgia. This bill was similar to the one currently being presented today, in that it would ban lawmakers from flying first-class on taxpayers’ dime, The Washington Post reported.
Ruiz and Gosar released a joint statement, slamming the “especially wasteful” spending by members of Congress.
“Members of Congress are public servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged status," they wrote.
According to WND.com, lawmakers receive a stipend to pay for office staff, supplies and other day-to-day operational needs. The revised legislation, now labeled the Coach Only Airfare for Capitol Hill Act, would ban using the stipend to pay for first-class airfare, with exceptions for lawmakers who have medical conditions.
Another House member, freshman Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham of Florida, introduced her own version of this idea in March.
The Congressional Travel Perks Elimination Act would also bar taxpayer dollars being used to purchase first-class airfare and for leasing vehicles.
“Nine months ago, I pledged if elected I would work to end wasteful Congressional perks," Graham said at her announcement. "Today, I’m following through on that promise. It’s a common sense idea that Republicans and Democrats can both agree on: members of Congress shouldn’t be able to charge taxpayers’ for first-class airfare or long-term personal car leases."
Fourteen other lawmakers have come forward to co-sponsor Ruiz and Gosar's legislation, Democrats and Republicans alike.
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