You probably read this headline and thought, "Wait, Congress isn't already flying coach?" Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have been flying in first-class seats for years on the taxpayer dime thanks to a loophole in the system (a loophole Congress loves to take advantage of). Now, a bipartisan group of Congressmen are looking to end the loophole through the If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act (H.R. 4632).
"This bill is a continuation of my efforts to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government," Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement. "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,” Democrat Rep. Dr Raul Ruiz added. “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-fair, the same should apply to Congress.”
Fair enough, right?
Earlier this year, the same Congressmen introduced wrote and submitted a request to the Committee on Appropriations asking that language prohibiting lawmakers from traveling first-class on the taxpayer dime be added to the Fiscal Year 2015 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. A vote on the most recent legislation ending the first-class treatment has not been scheduled yet.