The Canceled Flight

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.

4 thoughts on “The Canceled Flight”

  1. Pelosi clearly wins the battle of the pretexts. Her missive cited plausible security concerns created by the non-funding of iinter alia the Secret Service. Trump can only cite political optics. You would think that he would want his enemy to waste plenty of her time and the public’s money on junkets, wouldn’t you?

    The unbelievable pettiness is cubed by the entirely gratuitous revelation to the Taliban that the Speaker plans to visit Afghanistan. Flying commercial now exposes her to much greater risk, and she probably can’t go now. So Trump is interfering with the proper operations of the legislature. Impeachment count 37 or something.

  2. From a constitutional point of view, I don’t think you could have anything but the DoD policy. If the executive gets to micromanage official congressional travel, all manner of interesting results can ensue.

  3. Any crisis or pseudo-crisis gives the Executive powers that the Supreme Court will never deny. All the big government folks are getting what they deserve.

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