Bipartisan Bill Would Make Lawmakers Fly Coach

Monday, 12 May 2014 06:25 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A bipartisan bill aims to keep the nation's lawmakers from taking expensive first-class flights during their jaunts around the country and make them fly in coach instead.

"At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using taxpayers' hard-earned money to buy luxury airline seats," Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar says.

"It's a very simple bill. All it does is prohibit members of Congress from using taxpayer funds to buy first-class airfare."

Gosar, along with Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif; Walter Jones, R- N. C.; and John Barrow, D-Ga., introduced the "If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then So Should Congress Act," on Friday, reports Politico.

"It's wrong that members of Congress can purchase luxury airfare with taxpayer money when many families in my district and across the country are struggling to make ends meet," Ruiz said.

Jones said members of the House and Senate should not secure their luxury travel at taxpayers' expense, and Barrow said it's up to elected officials to "spend the people's hard-earned money in the most responsible way possible."

"It's not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending," Barrow continued. "We should set a good example."

The act seems to codify the same restrictions for air travel for members of Congress and other employees of the legislative branch that are now required for executive branch employees, while allowing for exemptions to accommodate disabilities or medical needs.

Jones, Barrow, Gosar, and Ruiz had filed similar initiatives already this year, including a proposed amendment to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.

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