Reps. O’Halleran, Schrader Introduce Bill to End Government Travel Abuse

September 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05) introduced the Taxpayers Don’t Incur Meaningless Expenses (Taxpayers DIME) Act, which ensures no taxpayer money is spent on government air travel that violates rules applied to senior federal officials, increases transparency and oversight of government travel, and calls for the independent Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to report on ways to strengthen existing rules.

“Taxpayers are rightfully outraged by the disturbing practice of government officials wasting their hard-earned dollars on government and private jets to travel the country. It is time to put an end to this,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “The Taxpayers DIME Act strengthens rules against wasteful government spending and brings greater transparency to how agency resources for government travel are used or abused. Those who serve the American people, regardless of political affiliation, must be held to the highest ethical standard, and I will continue pushing for greater transparency and accountability in Washington.”

"There's often a running, mostly false narrative that Washington doesn't play by its own rules. When we see federal officials jet around the country on taxpayer dollars, the skepticism only deepens," said Rep. Kurt Schrader. "Our Taxpayers DIME Act ensures that public servants are transparent and fiscally responsible in their air travel spending, and it will hold those who aren't accountable. We're here to serve our neighbors back at home, not lavish their hard-earned dollars on personal luxury. If that's too much to ask, then go home -- and fly commercial."

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) outline the rules applicable to senior federal officials and agencies for requesting, approving, and using government aircraft for official and non-official travel. However, reports of Cabinet officials inappropriately requesting or utilizing government aircraft demonstrate a violation of the spirit of the FTR, which state clearly that “Taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for [officials’] travel”.

O’Halleran and Schrader co-chair the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Government Reform and Accountability. The group is responsible for monitoring regulations issued by the federal government and analyzing rules to ensure Congressional intent is appropriately applied.