Thursday, July 02, 2009

Congress's Spending on Taxpayer-Funded Trips Rises Tenfold

According to a new analysis from the Wall Street Journal, the amount of money U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives has increased drastically over the past decade. The findings have many Americans concerned, wondering why Congress is excessively spending taxpayer money while the rest of the country is struggling to make ends meet. Check out the data supporting the analysis below, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

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 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.

The Journal analysis, based on information published in the Congressional Record, also shows that taxpayer-funded travel is a big and growing perk for lawmakers and their families. Some members of Congress have complained in recent months about chief executives of bailed-out banks, insurance companies and car makers who sponsored corporate trips to resorts or used corporate jets for their own travel.

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.

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