Last Year Your Tax Dollars Paid Over $10k For Hundreds Of First Class Tickets For Congressional Members & Staff
How often does the average American taxpayer pay over $10,000 for a first class ticket to a destination? In reality, it’s likely they don’t do it very often. Well, though they don’t foot the bill for their own first class travel, last years taxpayers paid for a record amount of travel for Members of Congress, including the purchase of 557 first class tickets that costed over $10,000. That number included both travel for Members and their staff.
According to a report by USA Today:
Those five-digit global itineraries made up 40% of all individual congressional trips for which travel costs were publicly reported. By comparison, less than 0.2% of tickets purchased by the general public through U.S. travel agencies in 2015 and 2016 were more than $10,000, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp.
The pricey flights were part of a surge in foreign travel. Congress spent at least $14.7 million on taxpayer-funded trips in fiscal year 2016, a 27% increase over the year before, according to Congress’ own accounting.
And that may be a low estimate. The Treasury Department reported that congressional travel cost nearly $20 million last year, the highest figure ever recorded, based on data provided by the State Department, which arranges official foreign travel for lawmakers. Neither Treasury nor State would explain the discrepancy, but both agencies stood by the higher figure.
Interestingly, this figure doesn’t include the times that the Department of Defense provided transportation for Members of Congress, simply because those numbers are never disclosed. That means it is likely that a lot more money was spent on Congressional travel, but for the time being, let’s just focus on the fact of this commercial tickets.
It is absolutely astounding that taxpayers foot the bill for first class travel. It is unnecessary and a wasteful expense that simply only means to provide comfort to the elites in Washington, at the expense of hard-working Americans who will likely never see the same luxury. Particularly, they will rarely, if ever, get the chance for someone else to foot their bill for first class travel. I perfectly acknowledge that foreign travel, and Congressional travel, is necessary. It is reasonable that the taxpayers pay for flights for Members of Congress to go to special meeting with foreign counterparts and other job-related duties. However, if a Member (OR ESPECIALLY THEIR STAFF) wants to fly first, they should pay for that out of their own pocket or with their own dollars.