Bill would bar lawmakers from flying first class
© Getty Images

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

Reps. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' Scalise confident Marjorie Taylor Greene won't launch 'America First Caucus' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Raul RuizRaul RuizHispanic Caucus energized by first Biden meeting Biden urged to appoint Latina prosecutor working on Floyd case as US attorney 33 Democrats urge Biden to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline MORE (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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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."