Utah's congressional delegation travels to foreign countries relatively infrequently compared with other delegations, according to a new study.
Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report magazine recently polled members of Congress about how many foreign trips they took, and the reasons for them. It supplemented that information with data from official reports for members who did not respond to the survey.The study showed that delegations from less urban states seemed to travel less, especially in the Midwest and Mountain West. The magazine suggested the reason may be that rural residents are less understanding of foreign travel.
Utah's five members of Congress reported only five foreign trips among them during 1988. In contrast, New York's delegation had 58 trips for its 36 members of Congress; California had 64 trips for its 47 members; and Texas had 58 trips for its 29 members.
The study reported that Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, went on a Utah economic development mission to the Orient from April 1-10 visiting Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand at the expense of Huntsman Chemical Corp. He also was part of a delegation to the Farnsborough air show in England at government expense from Sept. 1-7.
Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, traveled to China from Jan. 1-18 for a House Energy and Commerce Committee trip to study trade issues. Airfare was at U.S. government expense, and the Chinese government paid for travel within China.
Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, did not respond to Congressional Quarterly's survey, but the magazine said a Foreign Affairs Committee report showed he traveled with a committee delegation to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel at government expense.
Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Hansen, both R-Utah, reported no foreign trips.
Garn suggested to the Deseret News that voters should consider whether travel taken is required by an individual's committee and other assignments.
"A lot of congressmen and senators go on unnecessary trips," he said. "They are going to areas for which they have no jurisdiction."