Hat/Tip Jamie Dupree. Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that on Capitol Hill last week, the US House of Representatives voted NOT to give themselves a pay raise. However, the bad news is that they voted to continue to have taxpayers pay for their automobile leases.
Yep, we get to put quite a few Congress-critters in their cars, to the tune of $1,000 a month. Nice perk, huh?
As the U.S. House last week approved a funding bill for the operations of the Legislative Branch 2015, lawmakers voted to freeze the House budget and to again block any pay raise for members, but they refused to take another step on the budget, rejecting a plan to stop members from using some of their office account money to lease automobiles.
“Today, members of Congress can lease Lexuses, BMW’s, Infinitis, Acuras, Mercedes,” groused Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), who pressed the case for banning car leases.
“Having a personal car – basically paid for by the taxpayers – should no longer be allowed,” Nugent argued in vain on the floor, as the House rejected his amendment on a vote of 221-196.
The numbers from the House Statement of Disbursements show this:
+ 63 House members are spending $38,444.20 per month on auto leases, which totals out to $461,330.40 per year – that is an average of $610.23 per month per lawmaker lease.
+ 37 Democrats are using official office account money to lease a vehicle, spending an average of $606.73 per month.
+ 26 Republicans are using official office account money to lease a vehicle, spending an average of $615.20 per month.
+ The most money is being spent for auto leases each month is by Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) at $1,318.97 for two leases; one is for $333.33, and the other is for $985.64.
Now, to their credit, not every member of Congress use this perk. There are 63 lawmakers taking advantage of this, here is the list.
|Rep. Randy Neugebauer||R-TX||$1,318.97|
|Rep. Emanuel Cleaver||D-MO||$999.55|
|Rep. G.K. Butterfield||D-NC||$999.50|
|Rep. Gregory Meeks||D-NY||$989.90|
|Rep. Dana Rohrabacher||R-CA||$943.87|
|Rep. Bobby Rush||D-IL||$927.97|
|Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson||D-TX||$914.95|
|Rep. Joe Barton||R-TX||$884.67|
|Rep. John Culberson||R-TX||$880.00|
|Rep. Kerry Bentivolio||R-MI||$800.00|
|Rep. Michael Michaud||D-ME||$795.00|
|Rep. Alcee Hastings||D-FL||$753.28|
|Rep. Don Young||R-AK||$748.73|
|Rep. Gene Green||D-TX||$725.82|
|Rep. William Clay||D-MO||$723.26|
|Rep. Juan Vargas||D-CA||$712.09|
|Rep. Terri Sewell||D-AL||$700.05|
|Rep. John Conyers||D-MI||$699.72|
|Rep. Duncan Hunter||D-CA||$699.58|
|Rep. Mike Simpson||R-IL||$698.13|
|Rep. Buck McKeon||R-CA||$695.00|
|Rep. Gary Miller||R-CA||$695.00|
|Rep. Hank Johnson||D-GA||$669.16|
|Rep. Collin Peterson||D-MN||$663.66|
|Rep. John Carney||D-DE||$657.99|
|Rep. Henry Cuellar||D-TX||$643.65|
|Rep. Adrian Smith||R-NE||$629.52|
|Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart||R-FL||$615.10|
|Rep. Joe Garcia||D-FL||$606.46|
|Rep. William Keating||D-MA||$579.05|
|Rep. Bill Shuster||R-PA||$568.81|
|Rep. Nick Rahall||D-WV||$567.07|
|Rep. Karen Bass||D-CA||$562.11|
|Rep. Kenny Marchant||R-TX||$549.84|
|Rep. David Scott||D-GA||$523.32|
|Rep. George Miller||D-CA||$516.52|
|Rep. Danny Davis||D-IL||$516.39|
|Rep. Mike Pompeo||R-CA||$514.16|
|Rep. Ed Royce||R-CA||$509.98|
|Rep. Tony Cardenas||D-CA||$507.66|
|Rep. Barbara Lee||D-CA||$507.07|
|Rep. Steve Womack||R-AR||$501.87|
|Rep. Louie Gohmert||R-TX||$492.57|
|Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen||R-FL||$479.86|
|Rep. Phil Gingrey||R-GA||$479.26|
|Rep. Mike Turner||R-OH||$477.50|
|Rep. William Owens||D-NY||$465.21|
|Rep. Morgan Griffith||R-VA||$464.42|
|Rep. Bill Flores||D-TX||$455.55|
|Rep. Kevin McCarthy||R-CA||$440.54|
|Rep. Al Green||D-TX||$436.89|
|Rep. Bill Johnson||R-OH||$431.57|
|Rep. Kevin Brady||R-TX||$431.00|
|Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee||D-TX||$429.05|
|Rep. Peter Welch||D-VT||$425.68|
|Rep. John Lewis||D-GA||$417.93|
|Rep. Linda Sanchez||D-CA||$413.65|
|Rep. Anna Eshoo||D-CA||$392.30|
|Rep. Gus Bilirakis||R-FL||$387.00|
|Rep. Jim McDermott||R-WA||$357.92|
|Rep. Ted Deutch||D-FL||$301.17|
|Rep. Adam Schiff||D-CA||$278.90|
|Rep. Xavier Becerra||D-CA||$271.80|
Now this program only applies to House members as the Senate did away with their version of this previously, and according to House rules, it IS okay to buy or lease a vehicle with campaign funds.
From the House Ethics Committee guidlines:
“It is permissible for a Member to lease or purchase a motor vehicle with campaign funds and to use that vehicle on an unlimited basis for travel for both campaign and official House purposes. “Campaign funds may also be used to pay the expenses incurred in operating the vehicle, such as insurance, maintenance and repair, registration fees, and any property tax,” it adds.
As you can see on the list above, this isn’t a Democrat or Republican thing, members from both parties utilize this perk.