From the article:
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.I guess congressmen can consider this a sort of vacation bailout.
I love this part:
The cost of so-called congressional delegations, known among lawmakers as "codels," has risen nearly 70% since 2005, when an influence-peddling scandal led to a ban on travel funded by lobbyists, according to the data.So congressmen used to travel on money that was voluntarily donated by people in hopes of influencing the government. The intention could have been to get them to ban firearms or not ban firearms, to get them to build more coal fired electric plants or prevent more coal fired plants, etc. Whether those trips influence anyone and whether the influence is good or bad is debatable. Now congressmen travel on money that is involuntarily extracted from the people and congressmen care a little less what you think.
Here you go:
Although complete travel records aren't yet available for 2009, it appears that such costs continue to rise. The Journal analysis shows that the government has picked up the tab for travel to destinations such as Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Lawmakers frequently bring along spouses on congressional trips. If they take commercial flights, they have to buy tickets for spouses. If they fly on government planes -- as they usually do -- their spouses can fly free.You can't expect a member of congress to slave away getting drunk in Jamaica or work their fingers to the bone diving the Great Barrier Reef without their spouse can you? Not taking your spouse when you go to work is for the dirty little people in flyover country.
Here is a great part:
In mid-June, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii) led a group of a half-dozen senators and their spouses on a four-day trip to France for the biennial Paris Air Show. An itinerary for the event shows that lawmakers flew on the Air Force's version of the Boeing 737, which costs $5,700 an hour to operate. They stayed at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, which advertises rooms from $460 a night.
The lawmakers were invited to a dinner party at the U.S. Embassy and had cocktails at a private party at the Eiffel Tower. Mr. Inouye attended a dinner sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, a U.S. trade group. Another senator on the trip, Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, took a cruise on the River Seine with defense-industry executives and elected officials from Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
That is some mighty rough work. I'm really glad that these people are willing to make these kinds of sacrifices on my behalf. Pardon me while I go throw up thinking about congressional sacrifices compared to this kind of sacrifice. How can a nation produce the kind of people we have in our military and the kind we have in congress at the same time?
Back to the story. In case you were wondering:
Mr. Inouye and Mr. Shelby declined to comment.
I'll bet they did. Taking the 5th is usually the best course while waiting for your attorney.
Here is some more info to make you mad. Think about this while you are at a Tea Party or Independence Day celebration this weekend.
Often, lawmakers combine trips to war zones with visits to more tranquil spots. In February, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of Democratic lawmakers to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a day. Before landing in Kabul, the eight lawmakers and their entourage of spouses and aides spent eight days in Italy, spending $57,697 on hotels and meals.
A spokesman for Ms. Pelosi says that she was working in Italy, meeting with U.S. troops at Aviano Air Base, laying a wreath at the Florence American Cemetery, giving a speech to Italian lawmakers and visiting the Pope, among other things.
Pelosi claims she was "working in Italy". So she and her buddies take ONE day to meet the troops in a war zone and EIGHT days to meet the troops at an air base in Italy, lay a wreath, give a speech, and meet the Pope!!
Of course the none of the troops probably give a rats behind about meeting a socialist weirdo like her. They would probably have preferred to have an extra hour of sleep over listening to her drivel.
Here is one last part:
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.
Documents obtained by the Journal show that the cost of flying a small group of lawmakers to the Middle East is about $150,000. Larger trips on the Air Force's version of the Boeing 757 cost about $12,000 an hour. Two federal agencies pay for most of the travel -- the Defense Department and the State Department.
What do you bet that congressmen don't have to worry about their wives and children being strip searched by illegals working for the TSA when they fly on one of those 16 planes? I'll bet they can carry their own nail clippers in their carryon bags, too.
That is your money they are spending. Are you happy about that? Do you think they are spending it better than you could?