Taxpayers are spending more so Congress can travel

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Byline: Nick Cardona

It members of Congress are flying around the globe a whole lot more, and you're the one paying for it.

According to a report in USA Today, From November 2015 through November 2016, taxpayers paid for more than 550 trips that cost more than $10,000 each. This is all part of a dramatic increase in Congressional travel.

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Air Force One, a heavily modified Boeing 747, is seen prior to US President Barack Obama departure from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, December 6, 2016, as he travels to Tampa, Florida, to speak about counterterrorism and visit with troops. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Old airplanes, including Boeing 747-400s, are stored in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015. Last year, there were zero orders placed by commercial airlines for new Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s, reflecting a fundamental shift in the industry toward smaller, twin-engine planes. Smaller planes cost less to fly than the stately, four-engine jumbos, which can carry as many as 525 passengers. Picture taken March 13, 2015. To match Insight AEROSPACE-JUMBO REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Old airplanes, including Boeing 747-400s, are stored in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015. Last year, there were zero orders placed by commercial airlines for new Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s, reflecting a fundamental shift in the industry toward smaller, twin-engine planes. Smaller planes cost less to fly than the stately, four-engine jumbos, which can carry as many as 525 passengers. Picture taken March 13, 2015. To match Insight AEROSPACE-JUMBO REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Boeing 747 also known as a jumbo jet lines up on a runway in preparation for takeoff.
Old airplanes, including British Airways Boeing 747-400s and FedEx planes, are stored in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015. Last year, there were zero orders placed by commercial airlines for new Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s, reflecting a fundamental shift in the industry toward smaller, twin-engine planes. Smaller planes cost less to fly than the stately, four-engine jumbos, which can carry as many as 525 passengers. Picture taken March 13, 2015. To match Insight AEROSPACE-JUMBO REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Old airplanes, including British Airways and Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400s, are stored in the desert in Victorville, California March 13, 2015. Last year, there were zero orders placed by commercial airlines for new Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s, reflecting a fundamental shift in the industry toward smaller, twin-engine planes. Smaller planes cost less to fly than the stately, four-engine jumbos, which can carry as many as 525 passengers. Picture taken March 13, 2015. To match Insight AEROSPACE-JUMBO REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA - JUNE 10, 2016: Deicing Rossiya Airlines' Boeing 747-400 EI-XLJ Vladivostok aircraft at a city airport. Rossiya Airlines launched Moscow-Vladivostok-Moscow services on May 31, 2016. Yuri Smityuk/TASS (Photo by Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images)
Space Shuttle Discovery rides piggyback atop a specially modified Boeing 747 as it departs runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California on its ferry flight back to Kennedy Space Center in Florida August 19, 2005. Discovery began the return journey to its Florida home port from its landing site in California on Friday after having to land at Edwards Air Force base because of thunderstorms at Cape Canaveral. REUTERS/Tom Rogers TR/HK/KS
The interior of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's private Boeing 747 airplane in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Alwaleed said he will continue working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after the U.S. regulator sued the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history for misleading its investors. Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 18: Interior of the business class section of the life-size display of the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in Renton, Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007. The plane is a stretched version of the current 747-400 and incorporates interior featured from the 777 and the upcoming 787. (Photo by Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Wide angle view of the modern flight deck of a Boeing 747 aircraft.
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In 2015 taxpayers paid $11 million. That jumped to $14.7 million in 2016, a 24% increase. That number could be low-balling the actual amount since the Treasury Department reported that the number was closer to $20 million in 2016. That would be the highest number ever recorded.

Members of Congress do not pay for their own flights. The State Department plans the trips and Treasury pays for it. Some members of Congress argue that the increase is needed so that lawmakers have the chance to spend more time learning about international situations and gaining more information.

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