When the House voted against raising its own pay last week, it also quietly voted to keep a cherished perk: taxpayer-funded car leases. Rep. Rich Nugent had offered an amendment to disallow the practice, but it lost by 20 votes, the Washington Post reports. "Today, members of Congress can lease Lexuses, BMWs, Infinities, Mercedes," Nugent argued. "Does that send a message to our folks back home that this is the right way to do it?"
How much is all this costing? Jamie Dupree at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution dove into the numbers and found that 63 reps (38 Democrats and 25 Republicans) use the allowance, spending $461,330 per year, and an average of $610.23 per month each. The biggest spender is Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who dishes out $1,319 a month for two vehicles. But Neugebauer defended the expense to KFYO, citing the size of his district. "We drive our vehicles a lot of miles," he said. (Read more Congress stories.)