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Bipartisan Group Introduces Bill To Stop Congress From Flying First Class Using Taxpayer Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), Reps. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Walter Jones (NC-03) and John Barrow (GA-12) - introduced the If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act (H.R. 4632), which would prohibit members of Congress from flying first class using taxpayer funds. The four original co-sponsors released the following statements after the bill was introduced:

"This bill is a continuation of my efforts to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government," said Rep. Gosar. "It's a very simple bill. All it does is prohibit members of Congress from using taxpayer funds to purchase first class airfare. 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. If members of our military can't fly first class using taxpayer funds, neither should members of Congress."

“Members of Congress are public servants and should not receive special privileges at the expense of hard working taxpayers,” said Dr. Ruiz. “It’s wrong that Members of Congress can purchase luxury airfare with taxpayer money when many families in my district and across the county are struggling to make ends meet. This bipartisan, fiscally responsible bill will close a loophole that currently allows Members of Congress to buy first-class airfare using taxpayer funds. If our men and women in uniform are restricted from buying first-class air-fare, the same should apply to Congress.”

“As representatives of the American people, we in Congress have a responsibility to wisely use the people’s money,” said Congressman Jones. “Members of the House and Senate should never secure their own luxury travel at taxpayer expense, but they especially should not do so when our nation is buried $17 trillion deep in debt.”

“As elected officials, we should spend the people's hard-earned money in the most responsible way possible,” said Congressman Barrow. “This bipartisan, common sense legislation prohibits members of Congress from using taxpayer funds to buy first-class airline seats. It's not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending -- we should set a good example. And not spending other people's money on first class travel is a good place to start.”

BACKGROUND:
The If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act seeks to codify the same restrictions for air travel for members of Congress and other employees of the Legislative Branch that are required for travel by employees of the Executive Branch. This language allows for reasonable exceptions like accommodating a disability or other substantiated medical need. Click HERE to read the text of the bill.

These four members have led multiple initiatives this year to prevent this occurrence, including filing an amendment to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act and sending a formal request to appropriators for the inclusion of this language. To read more about those efforts, click HERE and HERE.


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