Bipartisan Bill Downgrades Congress From First-Class to Coach

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | May 9, 2014 | 4:58 PM EDT

Today, a bipartisan group of congressmen introduced the If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then so Should Congress Act (H.R. 4632), which would prohibit members of Congress from flying first class using taxpayer funds.

H.R. 4632 seeks to codify the same restrictions for air travel for members of Congress and other employees of the legislative branch that are required for travel by employees of the executive branch. This language allows for reasonable exceptions like accommodating a disability or other substantiated medical need. Click here to read the text of the bill.

The bill’s sponsors include: Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Rep. Paul A. Gosar, (R-AZ.), Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and John Barrow (D-GA).

These four congressmen have led multiple initiatives this year to prevent taxpayer money from being used for luxury travel, including filing an amendment to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act and sending a formal request to appropriators for the inclusion of this language.

"At a time of massive deficits and with a national debt in excess of $17 trillion, members of Congress should not be using taxpayers' hard-earned money to buy luxury airline seats," said Rep. Gosar.

"If members of our military can't fly first class using taxpayer funds, neither should members of Congress."