Texas Congressional Leaders and Tax-funded Vehicle Leases

Texas Congressional Leaders and Tax-funded Vehicle Leases

As Congressional leaders continue to debate spending and the nation’s debt crisis, one new report highlights just one example of what members of Congress spend taxpayer money on. Last week the House voted to continue spending for vehicle leases for members of Congress. As KFYO-AM points out, a Texas Congressman is at the top of the list when it comes leasing expenses. In fact, four out of the top ten expense reports for vehicle leasing belong to Congressional members from Texas.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer spent the most on leases by spending a total of $1,318.97 per month on two vehicles. Neugebauer told KFYO on Monday that he leases vehicles so his staff can travel throughout the 29,000 miles that make up his 19th Congressional District.

“One of the things members (of Congress) get is an allowance and they hire all of their people, lease all of their office space through (the fund). One of the things I do is lease vehicles so that my employees can travel throughout the (19th Congressional) district. We’ve looked at both ways, both reimbursing them on a mileage basis or leasing the cars. Now for a member like me, that has 29,000 miles, 29 counties, we drive our vehicles a lot of miles.”

Congressman Neugebauer continued, “It is more cost effective, when we ran the numbers, for us to lease the vehicles than to reimburse for mileage.”

Neugebauer also pointed to other reasons as to while leasing is costly. Due to fuel standards from the Federal Government, members of Congress are only allowed to lease hybrid vehicles which can drive up the cost of a lease. Members of Congress are also only allowed to lease vehicles for two years. That short-term lease can drive up the cost as well due to penalties incurred.

Jaime Dupree who wrote the initial report pointed out that out of the top ten spenders, five are Republican and five are Democrats. Below is a partial list of vehicle lease spending:

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

While the U.S. Senate abandoned the practice of using funds to lease vehicles, members of the House rejected an amendment from Florida Republican Richard Nugent to ban the practice.

Chad Hasty is the host of the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO-AM Lubbock. Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadHastyRadio.