Bill would bar lawmakers from flying first class

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation to prevent members of Congress from using official funds for first-class airfare.

Reps. Paul GosarPaul GosarOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns House panel approves Puerto Rico debt relief Overnight Defense: Dem opposition mounts to defense policy bill MORE (R-Ariz.) and Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) said luxury air travel is "especially wasteful," while Congress has yet to eliminate the federal deficit.

"Members of Congress are public servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged status," Gosar and Ruiz said in a joint statement.

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Each lawmaker is allotted funds known as a Member Representational Allowance to pay for running their offices, including staff salaries and office supplies.

The bill from Gosar and Ruiz, titled the Coach-Only Airfare for Capitol Hill (COACH) Act, would mandate that lawmakers and staffers can only fly first-class with personal funds. It would permit exceptions for first-class travel to accommodate disabilities or other medical needs.

Fourteen lawmakers have co-sponsored the legislation, several of whom will face tough reelection races next year: Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).

Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in the next election cycle, introduced a similar bill earlier this year that prevents members of Congress from buying first-class plane tickets with federal funds.

Lawmakers proposing to eliminate luxuries for themselves is a regular trend. Gosar, Ruiz and others introduced an identical measure last year titled the "If Our Military Has to Fly Coach Then So Should Congress Act."

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