Despite the recent outcry over the massive increase in travel by members, these thinly disguised publicly paid vacations have not only continued but the House of Representatives has now approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy elite Gulfstream jets to add comfort to their travels. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been singled out for much criticism in the increase of such vacations, but appears so unconcerned that the Democrats are pushing through an expansion of the fleet for the members to enjoy at public expense.
The Air Force asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet ($65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service, but the House expanded the number to be sure to cover any future travel demands for members.
The company’s literature bills the Gulfstream G550 as a luxury business jet, “with exceptional comfort [and] . . . features up to four distinct living areas, three temperature zones, a choice of 12 floor plan configurations with seating for up to 18 passengers.” They have everything that our leaders might need, except of course a modicum of shame.
Nothing but the best for our public servants. With millions out of work, record federal deficits, increasing taxes, and a trashed economy, one can understand why members would want to get away from it all. Of course, as the public officials bearing much responsibility for these woes, these junkets are particularly outrageous for average citizens. I have long argued for a virtual shutdown of such publicly funded travel for members. At one time, lobbyists and corporate interests would take the members on these vacations (under claims of “fact-finding missions” or educational trips). With that loophole closed, members simply shifted the cost to the taxpayers rather than pay for their own vacations.
It is a measure of how blind the voters have become to corruption that the Democrats have no fear whatsoever in pushing for such appropriations. Members have succeeded in convincing voters that no matter how corrupt or hypocritical they may be, voters cannot risk losing a given seat to the opposing party. As a result, members can fly to Europe on glorified shopping trips with little fear of repercussions at the polls.
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