Commentary: Congress members trip up their credibility

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Hey, it's hard work fulminating in Washington about executive perks and pay.

Members of Congress have spent hours expressing outrage over CEOs' outlandish salaries, bonuses and trips. And getting the stimulus bill passed was a long, hard slog.

So who is to fault some lawmakers for using the winter recess as an opportunity to get out of Dodge?

Lots of people. More so than in most years, the overseas journeys popular among members of Congress are raising eyebrows at home.

Politicians should have seen the backlash coming. Americans are worried about their finances and the nation's economy. They're postponing purchases and putting vacation plans on hold. And the federal deficit is exploding.

This would have been a good year for elected representatives to stay home and show solidarity with constituents.

Some did. But plenty set off on trips paid for either by U.S. taxpayers or by sponsors.

The most high-profile traveler is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is connecting with her Italian roots on a trip to Rome. Pelosi led a delegation of Congress members, staff and spouses that traveled on an Air Force jet.

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