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Congress Gives Itself a New $1,000 a Month Car Allowance

Another hidden handout packed into the massive budget bill

Another hidden handout packed into the massive budget bill

New little nuggets of pork are still being discovered within the 1,602-page so-called "Cromnibus" budget bill passed by Congress earlier this month.

Two weeks ago Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado hopped on Facebook to alert the masses about a new congressional perk rolled into the massive bill, which allows members of the House to spend up to $1,000 per month to lease a car.

See also: Parsing Out the Pork

On page 982, the bill reads:

"None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives to make any payments from any Members' Representational Allowance for the leasing of a vehicle, excluding mobile district offices, in an aggregate amount that exceeds $1,000 for the vehicle in any month."

We reached out to all eight of Minnesota's representatives to see if they knew anything about this nice extra bonus, and if they planned to wallow once again in the largesse of Capitol Hill.

Only half got back to us and -- wouldn't you know it? -- all said they wouldn't partake of this latest round of excess.

"I don't know why they would even put it in there, because I don't think there was any prohibition on leasing cars already, that I'm aware of," says northwest Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, who said he drives a 2000 Volvo. "Maybe they put it in there so it looks like it's more justified now."

Dropping a grand a month on a sweet new ride would be nice, Peterson acknowledges, but not nice enough to overcome the outrage at election time.

"According to my pollster, leasing cars is like the No. 1 thing the public hates, so if you want to go ahead and have a bunch of angry ads run against you on television, then go ahead and do that."

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.