North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones wants the cost of congressional trips overseas to be made public, and he’s proposing legislation in hopes of achieving transparency.
Jones’ “Congressional Foreign Travel Cost Disclosure Act” would “require the secretary of defense to determine and disclose the cost of any transportation provided by the secretary to members, officers, or employees of the House of Representatives or Senate who are carrying out official duties outside the United States, and for other purposes.”
The law would require the Defense Department to detail the transportation costs no later than 10 days after the trip to the House or Senate Armed Services committee. The cost would also be made public on the secretary of defense’s website.
The bill makes exceptions for representatives who are visiting troops in a war zone or at a United States military installation.
Jones said he was outraged to learn that one recent congressional delegation trip (CODEL) to Australia cost taxpayers $400,000. “I’m all for visiting the troops,” Jones said, “whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq, or some other country. But too many of these trips, in my opinion, are not that necessary and if they are that necessary, all we’re saying is that the people — the taxpayers — should be able to find out the cost of that trip.”
Hear, hear! But wait. This isn’t a law already? What happens if a person requests the information? Is not the government required to report the details of how it spends our money?
And another thing — do members of Congress have an unlimited expense account? Who approves these extravagances? They should all be given a very limited allowance, just like every other employee in the world traveling on business.