Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) was confronted by a fellow airplane passenger who questioned his decision to fly first class from Chicago to Washington, D.C. as the government shutdown—now in its 33rd day—rages on.
“Congressman, do you think it’s appropriate to fly first class while 57 TSA agents aren’t being paid?” the passenger, who has not been identified, asks in the video.
Davis did not answer.
“Taking that as a yes,” the passenger says. “Taxpayers paid for this flight? Fair enough.”
A GOP congressman flew first class today on a taxpayer-funded flight* on day 32 of the shutdown. A fellow passenger wasn't thrilled.
— Akbar Shahid Ahmed (@AkbarSAhmed) January 22, 2019
Davis’s spokesperson, Ashley Phelps, told The Huffington Post that Davis did not use his taxpayer-provided budget to purchase a first-class ticket and had never done so.
“There was no additional cost to taxpayers,” she told the outlet in an email. Davis did not respond to requests for comment.
“Members of Congress can have the government pay for regular flights to and from their home jurisdictions, as maintaining constituency contact is part of their job,” The Post‘s Akbar Shahid Ahmed notes. “Unlike the paychecks of TSA workers, as well as those of hundreds of thousands of other federal government workers affected by the shutdown, those paid flights do not go away during a government shutdown.”
The sight of a Congressman enjoying a first class flight as federal workers are forced to go without their paychecks, however, did not go over well.
@RodneyDavis was upgraded to First Class…Of all the crap my Congressman has done, this is by far the most harmless. But, for all of you finally noticing the clown representing #IL13, welcome to our circus, https://t.co/v2prMX9p1x
— jessica hoerman (@thljess) January 23, 2019
Why is he in first class?
Why did he leave DC during the #GOPShutdown?
— suhee001 (@suhee001) January 22, 2019
All lawmakers travelling by air should be confronted like this. Might smarten them up.
— WMR 🦈🇨🇦🐈🧘♀️ (@Jinxy_Minxy) January 22, 2019
Everybody in Congress will consistently point elsewhere. Nobody is to blame, nobody's in charge, it's not my fault.yada…yada…yada and the big DC wheel keeps spinning.
— Average Joe (@Superdaveohno) January 23, 2019
Davis has gone on record supporting President Donald Trump’s attempts to “compromise” and end the shutdown, which began after the president refused to sign a stopgap funding bill which would have averted a shutdown because he disagreed with Congress’s decision not to provide the funding he’d requested for his proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.