By Patrick OConnor - 03/02/06 12:00 AM EST
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, endorsed a temporary moratorium on privately funded travel during a closed-door meeting of House Republicans yesterday.
The Pence endorsement is the first significant sign of support from conference conservatives for a temporary travel ban.
"Millions of Americans are troubled by recent revelations concerning privately funded travel, and Congress should ban privately funded travel until a system of prior approval can be established within the House ethics committee," he said in a statement on the House floor yesterday.
Republican leaders in the House have been discussing the moratorium, which has the backing of Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as a way to give the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct more time to draft a pre-approval process for these trips.
While Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is supportive of a pre-approval process, it remains to be seen whether or not he supports the moratorium.
"It is under consideration for the balance of the year," Boehner said Tuesday during his weekly briefing with reporters. "I think there's some merit to it."
He dismissed a blanket ban on privately funded travel during his campaign for majority leader.