- - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thank you for the recent article “Lawmakers have not tightened travel belts, fly in the face of budget rhetoric” (Web, Sept. 18). The issues surrounding congressional travel costs are important, and the American people should be aware of the amount of taxpayer money that is used to facilitate overseas trips for members of the House and Senate.

Currently, when senators or members of the House of Representatives take foreign trips using U.S. military aircraft, the costs of those trips are not made public. As your article referenced, I have introduced legislation — H.R. 1359, the Congressional Foreign Travel Cost Disclosure Act — that would require the Department of Defense to publicly disclose the costs incurred by taking a member of Congress, an officer or a congressional employee on a trip outside the United States. For security reasons, exceptions to the requirement would be made for flights to visit U.S. military installations on foreign soil or to visit U.S. military personnel in a war zone.

Particularly at a time when America is continually sinking deeper into debt, taxpayers have a right to transparency in the use of their money. I encourage readers who agree with this effort to call their senators and representatives and request their support for H.R. 1359.

REP. WALTER B. JONES

North Carolina Republican

Washington