Thursday, July 2, 2009

Congressional Travel Up 50% Under Democrat Control

How are you spending this holiday weekend? While many Americans are scaling back travel plans Congress is traveling up a storm!

The Wall Street Journal reports that "spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years". Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million.

That's a whopping 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.

Lawmakers frame this travel as "a good use of government funds allowing them to learn more about the world, inspect U.S. assets abroad and forge better working relationships with each other".

However, the WSJ contends this taxpayer-funded travel is nothing more than "a big and growing perk for lawmakers and their families".

Consider this example from one of our state's Congressmen as cited in the WSJ article:

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.

According to the WSJ Mr. Baird didn't respond to their request for a comment. I bet he didn't.

So while Congress pontificates about the extravagant travel perks of corporate America they take theirs on the backs of American tax-payers.
Happy 4th America!

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