Members of the U.S. House of Representatives can use their office budgets to lease vehicles, according to a Knight Ridder news story. Those leases cost taxpayers more than $1 million last year, not including gas and insurance. Leasing can be cheaper than reimbursing lawmakers at 44.5 cents per mile, defenders say, especially for lawmakers who drive their own cars around very large districts. House members can lease less expensive cars through the General Services Administration, the federal government’s purchasing agency. The GSA negotiates bulk lease prices for the federal government. Sport utility vehicles can be leased for as little as $300 a month, while midsize sedans run $258 a month, the report says. The most popular models identified were SUVs; 19 lawmakers reported leasing the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, the report said. What are member of Congress paying for their leases? Most expensive: Rep. Michael Ross, D-Ark., Ford Expedition, $1,248.31 a month. Ross also spent the most amount total, $36,343.84, for the Expedition, a Ford 500 and Ford Crown Victoria. His district covers nearly 21,000 square miles. Least expensive: Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, Chevrolet Tahoe, $210.65 a month. Others:
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Tahoe, $903.80 a month. (District covers 5,500 miles in southwestern Missouri) Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., Cadillac DeVille, $1,000 a month. Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-Queens, Lexus, $1,062.85 a month. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., Honda Accord, $215 a month. The Senate does not allow members to lease vehicles on the taxpayer’s dime.