With more than half of its members traveling overseas in 2012 on official business, Florida’s congressional delegation is one of the most well-traveled, according to a Herald-Tribune report published Saturday.
The greater amount of travel is in large part due to the committee assignments Florida’s representatives hold: nine serve on the Foreign Affairs, Select Intelligence or Armed Services committees, all of which regard foreign relations. However, this is not the case for some of Florida’s delegation travelers who took taxpayer-funded trips to Switzerland, France, Australia and Morocco in 2012.
Although congressional travel is rarely publicized, some members nevertheless draw attention through their overseas visits. This year, Rep. Kathy Castor visited Cuba, drawing significant public scrutiny. Castor serves on committees relating to energy and health, none relating to foreign affairs.
The Herald-Tribune sums up that 14 of Florida’s 25 House members visited no fewer than 37 countries last year.
Pensacola-area Rep. Jeff Miller was the most well-traveled House member from Florida, having made four trips with stops in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as well as a meeting related to NATO that took place in Belgium. Miller sits on the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees.
Likewise, Rep. Dennis Ross from Lakeland took a nine-day trip through Africa to scrutinize US food assistance programs and refugee issues, with direct benefit to taxpayers.
“I have always said that Washington needs to be careful how it spends the hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” said Ross in a statement. “This trip gave me valuable insight into the long-term effects our international policies have on both developing countries and the United States.”