Trump has canceled a Congressional flight to Afghanistan and Brussels allegedly because of the partial government shutdown. The NYT has published the text of his letter. However, Trump’s actions appear to be directly contrary to DoD policy.
DoD policy is set forth in Directive Number 4515.12 (December 12, 1964) as reissued and supplemented on January 15, 2010. I have posted both documents as a single file here. As set forth on page 8 of the PDF:
It is DoD policy that support for approved travel of members and employees of Congress shall be provided on an economical basis upon request of Congress pursuant to law.
On pages 13-14, the policy directive provides that:
A request for travel of members and employees of Congress without reimbursement shall be granted when . . . [t]he chair of the congressional committee on which the member or employee serves or the Senate and the House leadership submits a written request to the Secretary of Defense.
Presumably, Speaker Pelosi’s office and those of the relevant Congressional committees involved completed the appropriate paperwork to make the request. Thus, the flight would be “without reimbursement,” meaning that the military, which is not subject to the budget shutdown, would foot the bill.
In short, Trump’s cancellation of the flight runs directly contrary to DoD policy and finds no support that it is, as he claims, ” [d]ue to the Shutdown [sic].”
EXEC1F is the flight code for the government plane that transports the First Lady. It left Andrews this evening and went to Palm Beach. Here’s the flight schedule.