National Debt Clock

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Congress's Travel Tab Swells

"The spending on overseas travel is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001, according to the Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records. Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That's a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago."

"The congressional trips are possible thanks in part to an unlimited fund created by a three-decade old law. Nearly two dozen government officials work full-time organizing the trips. Much of the costs are not made public, including the cost of flying on government jets. The Air Force maintains a fleet of 16 passenger planes for use by lawmakers."

"Last summer, Rep. Brian Baird (D., Wash.) took a four-day trip to the Galápagos Islands with his wife, four other lawmakers and their family members. The lawmakers spent $22,000 on meals and hotels, records show. Mr. Baird, a member of the House Science Committee, said the trip was to learn about global warming.
On the first day, lawmakers toured a breeding center for giant tortoise and land iguanas before dining with scientists, according to an itinerary for the trip. The next morning, lawmakers headed to the Galápagos National Park while their family members had the option of hiking, swimming or shopping. That afternoon, the group boarded a boat to visit a sea-lion colony and search for white-tip sharks."

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