When’s the last time you flew first class? Did you know that lawmakers on Capitol Hill do it all the time and pay for it using money from your hard earned paycheck?
For years, Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has tried to close the loophole that allows Congress to use taxpayer money to pay for first class flights back to their districts. Now, along with Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and 14 other co-sponsors, Gosar has introduced bipartisan legislation banning the practice.
The COACH Act “prohibits the use of funds provided for the official travel expenses of Members of Congress and other officers and employees of the legislative branch for airline accommodations which are not coach-class accommodations, and for other purposes,” and will apply to Representatives, Senators, delegate and resident commissioner to Congress.
“Currently, there exists a loophole that allows members of Congress to fly first-class at the expense of hardworking taxpayers. Members of Congress are public servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged status. Elected leaders must be judicious in the travel expenses that are paid for with federal funds. Luxury airfare accommodations utilizing taxpayer monies would be inappropriate in any fiscal climate, but at a time of soaring deficits and with a federal debt in excess of $18 trillion, such expenditures are especially wasteful,” Gosar said in a statement. “Furthermore, if current regulations prevent men and women serving in the U.S. military from flying first-class, there is absolutely no reason members of Congress should be given a special exemption not offered to our nation’s heroes. It’s time to end the double standard and rein in this abuse.”