Lawmakers to take military flight to colleague's funeral

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has arranged for a military flight to shuttle members of Congress to Rep. Bill Young’s (R-Fla.) funeral on Thursday.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told The Hill it was not possible to provide the cost of the flight or the number of members who will fly on the military transport since the invitation went out Tuesday morning.

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The House already canceled its session Thursday so members could attend the service.

Young died Friday at the age of 82 from complications stemming from a chronic injury. He was the longest-serving Republican member of the House.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, officials expect between 4,000 and 6,000 guests to attend the public service in Largo, Fla.

Boehner as well as Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) — among others — are expected to speak.

In February, Boehner said he was suspending the use of military aircraft for official travel by members of Congress after sequestration took effect, unless members received an exemption.

At the time, the Speaker’s office called it a “prudent and responsible” step on top of budget cuts to individual lawmakers’ offices due to the automatic spending cuts.

Steel told The Washington Post that Boehner would waive the restriction Thursday “given Rep. Young’s long and distinguished service to his Congressional district, and especially to the men and women of our Armed Forces.”

The Post noted that some lawmakers used military aircraft to attend funerals for Sens. Daniel Inouye (R-Hawaii) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) earlier this year.