Members of Congress spent at least $14.7 million on taxpayer-funded foreign travel in fiscal year 2016, a 24 percent increase over the year before, USA Today reported.
The news outlet reports the bill includes 557 overseas trips, or 40 percent of all the individual congressional travels, ringing in at $10,000 per trip at least, according to accounting of the trips in the Congressional Record.
None of the totals include other trips for which the military provides transportation; USA Today reported.
By law, Congress doesn't pay for its own overseas flights; Congress doesn't have to approve the spending for foreign travel, nor is there any limit, according to USA Today.
According to USA Today, citing the Congressional Record:
- In May 2016, four GOP congressmen and three staff members spent $90,000 on a five-day trip to Albania for a NATO summit. Ohio GOP Rep Mike Turner made the trip for $7,055, but Wisconsin GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner spent $15,222 for transportation — a figure blamed on "a last-minute return flight," Sensenbrenner's spokeswoman told USA Today.
- On a February 2016 trip to Belgium, Texas GOP Rep. Ted Poe spent $6,694 and Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly spent $11,396.
- In October 2015, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling and six other lawmakers accompanied by six staff members racked up $98,613 in expenses on a week-long trip to Germany, Switzerland and England.
- The Senate Armed Services Committee topped all other committees with a $2.1 million reported travel tab in 2016, up from $1.6 million the year before.
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