OMB shuts down all congressional travel until government reopens

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Rep. Will Hurd on government shutdown

The Office of Management and Budget is shutting down all congressional travel using government aircraft until the government reopens, the day after President Trump revealed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was leading a co-delegation (codel) to Brussels and Afghanistan and forbade her from using government transportation to travel.

"Under no circumstances during a government shutdown will any government owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft support any congressional delegation, without the express written approval of the White House chief of staff," Acting OMB Director Russell Vought wrote in a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies.

Mr. Trump unexpectedly announced that Pelosi would not be allowed to use government aircraft during her trip on Thursday, the day after Pelosi wrote a letter urging the president to postpone his State of the Union address at the end of the month citing security concerns.

Pelosi and the codel would have used military transport. The military is currently funded during the government shutdown. Mr. Trump said that his decision to ground Pelosi's trip was to ensure that she stay in the country to negotiate with the president to end the shutdown.

Mr. Trump also revealed Pelosi's secret destination before the trip took place, which typically does not happen for security reasons. Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hammill, said Friday that the codel attempted to fly commercial, but the White House leak of the travel plans derailed that plan. "In the middle of the night, State Dept's Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased danger to the delegation & to the troops, security & other officials supporting the trip," Hammill tweeted.

Although Mr. Trump has criticized Pelosi for wanting to leave during the shutdown, he went on a similar trip — leaving the U.S. to visit Americans in the war zone in Iraq — the day after Christmas. A codel of Republican members of Congress also traveled to the Middle East around Christmas.

Pelosi and Mr. Trump are locked in a stalemate over reopening the government, with Mr. Trump refusing to sign any bill which does not include funding for a border wall, and Pelosi and Senate Democrats unwilling to negotiate with the government closed. Neither side appears close to backing down.

Around 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are working without pay as the shutdown completes its fourth week.

First published on January 18, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

OMB shuts down all congressional travel until government reopens

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