Now, I don't want to go all Glenn Beck on you. I bring this information to you in a non-partisan way. But apparently Congressmen are spending more money than ever on overseas trips, just as Congress is looking to seek a $1.9 trillion increase in the federal debt limit The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Tuesday showing that the U.S military is funding thousands of dollars of alcohol and food for lawmakers on their trips overseas. Mind you, this isn't the base cost of the trips. These are additional costs to ply our Congressmen with libations overseas. The journal estimates these added military funds run at $4,300 per trip for 43 trips examined. An analysis by the Journal showed that overseas travel was $13 million in 2008, a tenfold increase from 1995. To get a taste of it, here is a description of one trip as quote from the journal:
When Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut—who heads the Banking Committee and ranks second on the Foreign Relations Committee—traveled to Europe in December 2008 to study banking issues, the Army dispatched an official to make sure the trip went smoothly. Records show the military gave the liaison $7,000 to cover expenses.The Climate Summit in Copenhagen, held in December, might have been the Superbowl of Congressional junkets. Remember that? It's where government officials, scientists, and climate wonks from all over the globe jetted into Copenhagen in December for a massive carbon-spewing party that ended with what is described by the New York Times as "a tentative nonbinding agreement" on carbon emissions. In other words, they accomplished nothing. I'm wondering how much carbon they would have saved by not having the the Climate Summit at all. In fact, the Climate Summit ended with bad vibes all over. The waste, both in carbon terms and taxpayer funds, was mind-boggling. A nice investigative piece by CBS News showed that millions was spent to send a huge Congressional delegation. Let's take a look at the scale, according to CBS reporting:
- Delegation leaders: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Chairman of the Tax Committee Charles Rangel.
- Additional Congressmen: Democrats: Waxman, Miller, Markey, Gordon, Levin, Blumenauer, DeGette, Inslee, Ryan, Butterfield, Cleaver, Giffords, and Republicans: Barton, Upton, Moore Capito, Sullivan, Blackburn and Sensenbrenner.
- Travel required three U.S. Military jets: two 737s and and one Gulfstream 5. Estimated cost: $200,000. That doesn't include the extra carbon the jets spewed to to to a conference designed to reduce carbon spewing.
- 321 Hotel nights (Marriott). Let's say it was $250 per night, probably a conservative estimate for Copenhagen with a rapidly plummeting dollar. That's $80,000 or so.