Dem bill would ban first-class flights for lawmakers

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Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent members of Congress from using taxpayer funds on first-class plane tickets.

The bill would also ban lawmakers from using government funds for long-term car leases for personal use.

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"It's a commonsense idea that Republicans and Democrats can both agree on: members of Congress shouldn't be able to charge taxpayers for first-class airfare or long-term personal car leases," said Graham, who will likely be one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in the next election cycle.

A statement from Graham's office said the bill is the first of multiple "anti-perk bills" to curb luxuries for members of Congress. 

Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) is currently listed as the bill's only cosponsor.

Lawmakers of both parties have introduced similar legislation in the past. 

One bipartisan measure last year, titled the "If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then So Should Congress Act," would also force lawmakers to fly in coach class with taxpayer money. However, it did provide exceptions for first-class travel to accommodate medical problems or disabilities. 

Another bill offered by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) last year would merely limit the purchase of first-class domestic airfare with taxpayer funds in certain circumstances. Those exceptions included if the flight was at least five hours or coach-class seats were unavailable in situations requiring urgent travel.

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