Spending cuts mean Congress is grounded from military planes
February 27th, 2013
03:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Spending cuts mean Congress is grounded from military planes

(CNN) - Members of Congress will not be allowed to travel by military aircraft once the forced spending cuts set to take effect on Friday kick in, House Speaker John Boehner told Republican members at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The prohibition could ground some official congressional delegation trips – known as CODELs – where several members or a committee travel on fact-finding or relationship-building trips to foreign countries. Transportation for these trips is sometimes provided by military aircraft, while sometimes members travel by commercial air. It was not immediately clear if the restriction would cancel any planned trips.

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An aide told CNN of Boehner's remarks to the closed-door meeting.

Boehner is typically permitted to travel to and from his home district by military aircraft, but he regularly travels commercially.

And it is not clear whether the executive branch will make any modifications to how it uses military aircraft.

Also, the Pentagon is beefing up the rules governing the use of military aircraft by members of Congress, according to a senior Pentagon official. The official said there will be both new rules and stronger enforcement of existing rules and policies in the face of the mandatory spending cuts expected to begin on Friday, and the lack of certainty about future funds.

There will be stronger restrictions on domestic travel on military aircraft the official said. Members of Congress will be told for domestic travel for legislative oversight purposes, they must consider flying commercially, which is some cases still will be paid for by the Pentagon, but is less expensive that military aircraft.

Travel to visit troops and commanders in overseas locations such as Afghanistan and South Korea will receive priority. Members will no longer be able to travel to their home states on military flights even if they are visiting military bases, the official said. While this generally was not permitted, the officially acknowledged there are cases where it happened.

In addition travel by congressional spouses will only be permitted for official travel, and if it does not result in greater costs, such as additional aircraft.

The official declined to be identified because an official announcement has not yet been made. The Pentagon is aware of Speaker John Boehner's decision suspending military travel for all House members, but the Pentagon rules are intended to govern all congressional travel which would include that by staff and family.

Additionally, Vice President Joe Biden is set to travel to Selma, Alabama on Sunday – a trip he would typically make using a plane from a fleet specially outfitted by the Air Force for executive use, with him aboard any of the planes are known as Air Force Two. The White House said he will participate in a crossing of the Edmond Pettus Bridge, where civil rights demonstrators attempted to cross in March of 1965 but were beaten back by police.

The Air Force also provides President Barack Obama with planes as he travels, by Air Force One and a helicopter known as Marine One. Air Force planes are also used to shuttle security personnel, helicopters and motorcade vehicles to presidential visit locations.

Federal officials have warned air travel will be complicated for the general public after the spending cuts, known in Washington as the sequester, take effect.

"Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, and that could cause delays at airports across the country," Obama said at an event in Virginia on Tuesday highlighting the impact of the forced budget cuts.

Filed under: Budget • Congress • Deficit • John Boehner
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    good ground all airplanes including air force one. it is the only way to keep obama in dc to do some work otherwise he is out campaigning or attending celebrity events or going on vacation.

    February 27, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Laverne

    Boehner is the worst speaker of house in history. He is 10 times worse than Pelosi!

    February 27, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. freedom

    Good – let them go through the security lines like the rest of us – then they'll change their tune. Especially Pelosi !!

    February 27, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Good, now take some of their paychecks.

    It's a damn shame how the GOP has behaved since 2009. I did some research on the debt ceiling. Since I really hadn't heard much about it prior to 2011, I thought perhaps this is something new. Imagine my surprise when I read that almost every POTUS in history has raised it numerous times, but never has any other POTUS been questioned like the present one.

    Bottom line is, the GOP has absolutely no respect for blacks, they look down on us all. In their eyes we are lazy, shiftless, ignorant, incompetent, and unable to do anything right. Including our uppity, Harvard educated POTUS.

    February 27, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....

    No more estacode, free healthcare and 2weeks vacation every other month for members of Congress....let them fly commercial to their AIPAC friends in Israel & globe-trot on their own dime!!!

    you getting paid – spend your own money, not taxpayers!!!!

    No more free lunch for this do-nothing congress!!!!

    February 27, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. lolo

    @ just sayin, really? You meant to say keep congress in d.c. to do their jobs. The president's job is to take it to the people. You are crazy just like the rest of your ill-informed party.

    February 27, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. Joe

    Balance the budget tomorrow. Cancel all social programs.

    February 27, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Good! Make them fly commercial like every one of us. They can afford it!!!

    February 27, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. plain&simple

    So all of this should bring smiles to every republicans face. They get cuts,less waste no new taxes,corporate officers still get their tax breaks! Hope that all works for 2014 elections,maybe people can vote standing in lines at the airports. That's even a bigger plus to current republican thinking. Republicans dothink....rright?

    February 27, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Donna

    I gotta say I am LOVING this right now. It is pure pleasure to see Obama and the Democrats try to inflict as much pain on the American people as possible all because they have to cut a few pennies from their still INCREASING spending! All rational adults in this country will see this for what it is and it will backfire big time on the Democrats, especially if somebody get injured or killed by the criminals they are releasing.

    This is the biggest mistake Obama has ever made. There are more than enough film clips and sound bites from his mouth to lay this all right at his doorstep. It will clarify in the eyes of millions of people what the far left Democrat Party is all about. They would rather risk the lives of you and your children than to cut some of the hundreds of billion of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.

    February 27, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Larry L

    After a six month deployment in a war zone I was awaiting a military hop to go straight to my hometown. I had left my hooch with all of my belongings and sat by the runway for several hours. When the plane landed I was informed it had two congressmen on board and I wouldn't be allowed to go on the flight. I asked if the plane was full and the Crew Chief personally came out to answer my question. He was furious – but not at me. It seems the Congressmen didn't want to be bothered by Soldiers – because "they get loud when they're going home and many of them smoke" (I don't). The aircraft was a C141 Stretch and the two Congressmen were the only passengers. I had to wait two more days to catch a flight to a location a thousand miles from home, stay in a hotel, then catch a commercial flight the following day. I'm okay if Congressmen NEVER get on a military aircraft again!

    February 27, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Darryl

    The GOP is going to continue stupidity for the next 4 years. That's a GOOD sign because they will NEVER get back the W/H and the GOP will disappear completely. The U.S and the world has changed in the last 17 years and the rules have to be changed as well to keep up. The 1800s are far gone. This is the 12st centuary and we just need to move forward. Leave the idiots behind and bury them or creamate them for good. It will be a blessing actually.

    February 27, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....

    The GOP should get off their free-lunch behind and give the president the flexibility to make the cuts...first cut to be made: John Boehner's salary & his free Health care followed by Mitch "Turtleneck" McConnel's!!!

    February 27, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Where on earth is Marco Rubio? Is he still in the Middle East?

    February 27, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Liberial gone right

    Thank God. Stop the tax's and stop the spending.

    February 27, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Blinded by the republican lies


    Boehner is the worst speaker of house in history. He is 10 times worse than Pelosi!

    February 27, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm

    You are sooo right!!! It's good to see that this will affect congress as well...And @ just sayin...That does not include the President of the United States as it is his job to travel around the country and world to do the nations business. So stop the hating...It gives premature wrinkles..

    February 27, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Namerene

    Good, they should fly coach anyways

    February 27, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Members of Congress should be subjected to long security lines and cramp airline seats like the rest of us.

    February 27, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Name lynn

    Congress you just might have start trouble within the military, an also yourselves.

    February 27, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Searcher

    It's good to see some PERKS going away for our Congresspeople....

    February 27, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Wes

    Why does obama hate America so much?

    February 27, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. John the Historian

    As Eisenhower said beware the military-industrial complex. Cut the military now. Now to wars of choice. Imagina a war and nobody shows up. Stop the Neocons.

    February 27, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Richard Long

    Like that is really going to save money! Duke So-And-So and/or Duchess WhomEver will just expense flights on their Congressional account anyways = taxpayers still get stuck with the bill.
    AIr Force One is technically a military transport... it'll be a cold day in Hell when you see Lord obama go through a TSA grope-fest with the rest of us serfs. Can't wait to spend more money on his trips to Hawaii!!!

    February 27, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Jules

    John Boehner is the most ineffective Speaker this country has ever seen. He says the president has to lead, but every member of the House and the Senate was elected to lead and John Boehner elected by the House to lead the House. You want leadership, Boehner? Talk to the guy in the mirror.

    February 27, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Jett

    Remember when Pelosi was speaker she was flying military or the military charter every weekend. Good for Boehner for doing some commercial flights to save us money. Congressman and Senators do not need to fly military or private aircraft on our dime. The Narcissist and Chief needs the protection and don't count on him worrying about all us little people when he is jetting here and there selling each of his new government give aways.

    February 27, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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