Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, led a group to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Panama. “This trip further solidified the message that homeland security does not begin or end at our borders,” says Mr. Thompson’s spokeswoman.
Many congressional trips have been to Iraq or Afghanistan. In 2008, lawmakers and aides took 113 trips to Iraq, according to the Journal analysis, down slightly from the prior year. Not much money is spent in the war zones. Lawmakers are not allowed to stay overnight in Iraq and receive only minimal spending allowances for their one-day visits.
In mid-February, for example, six House lawmakers traveled to Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain and Afghanistan. Each lawmaker reported spending $1,500 on hotels and meals in Kuwait, $400 in Bahrain, and $25 in Afghanistan. They reported no expenses in Iraq.