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Congress Flies to Florida to Attend Funeral

At the National Taxpayers Union's blog, Government Bytes, Michael Tasselmyer writes that "a contingent of  federal lawmakers will be among the thousands expected at a public funeral in Largo, FL, for recently deceased Representative Bill Young (R-FL). At 82 years old, Rep. Young was the longest-serving Republican Member in the House, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has announced that his Chamber will be in recess so that officials can attend the funeral." Tasselmyer addes:

"In addition to canceling Thursday's session, Boehner has lifted restrictions on Congressional use of military aircraft that were put in place earlier this year, and arranged for a military flight to carry lawmakers to and from the funeral. The flight will reportedly leave on Thursday morning and return to Washington, D.C. later that evening."

Tasselmyer then looks at the possible cost of the trip, which depends on the type of plane used. He also notes, "the House passed a resolution on Tuesday night that will allow Members in attendance to expense the trip using House accounts."

As Stephen Dinan reported for the Washington Times, "the move to close down business is a mark of respect for him — though it also means that there will be no floor votes and that many committee meetings have been canceled, cutting short what was already a mostly empty week." Dinan also reports:

"The move comes the week after Congress took heat for including a $174,000 payment to the widow of multimillionaire Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who died earlier this year, leaving an estate estimated at more than $50 million.

"Mr. Young’s estimated wealth was far less than Mr. Lautenberg’s, and it’s likely his widow, Beverly, will get a similar death gratuity payment, which is a regular occurrence when members of Congress die in office."

Unfortunately, there was no mention of whether the Senate closed down and flew Air Force planes to attend Mr. Lautenberg's funeral. The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe provides additional reporting on Congressional plans to attend Mr. Young's funeral.


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