Wonder what you would find if you frisked the recently filed Congressional expense reports?
Answer: The cost of sending 106 people from the House and Senate – spouses and staffers included – to Copenhagen, Denmark for the Climate Change Summit.
Taxpayers… Get your checkbooks and wallets ready. CBS reports:
For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That’s $2,200 a day – more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment.
The group expense report was filed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She wouldn’t talk about it when our producer tried to ask.
Pelosi’s office did offer an explanation for the high room charges. Those who stayed just two nights were charged a six-night minimum at the five-star Marriott. One staffer said, they strongly objected to no avail. You may ask how they’ll negotiate a climate treaty, if they can’t get a better deal on hotel rooms.
Total hotel, meeting rooms and “a couple” of $1,000-a-night hospitality suites topped $400,000.
Flights weren’t cheap, either. Fifty-nine House and Senate staff flew commercial during the Copenhagen rush. They paid government rates — $5-10,000 each — totaling $408,064. Add three military jets — $168,351 just for flight time — and the bill tops $1.1 million dollars — not including all the Obama administration officials who attended: well over 60.
Remember: There was nothing accomplished at this Climate Change Summit in Denmark besides successfully polluting the planet even more. I hope our politicians and government officials enjoyed their nice little vacation, because – as always – it is not on their own tab. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Congressmen need to fly around on occasion, but this is just absurdity. $2,200 for a hotel room and food for a day!? This is atrocious government spending at its finest. If any politician is trying to find out where to make budget cuts – which will probably never happen – they better be slamming their fingers down on this Congressional expense report!
Side-Note: Perhaps we should start a national raffle where a few citizens are chosen every year to have a week’s vacation paid for by the politicians in Washington DC. Wait a second… We pay their salaries… Damn, there goes that idea.
And why was the Ways and Means chair – Charlie Rangel – at the Climate Change Summit on the taxpayer’s dime? That question still baffles me.
*UPDATE* – January 26, 2009
Click here to watch CBS’s newscast on this story.