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Syndicate lists Bartlett's overseas travel

October 18, 2000

Syndicate lists Bartlett's overseas travel



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., took four taxpayer-funded trips overseas last year on missions ranging from discussing international patent law to trying to make peace in Kosovo.

Bartlett traveled more than any other Maryland legislator, according to a survey of Congressional representatives by Roll Call Report Syndicate of Washington, D.C. He was the only Tri-State area lawmaker to take such trips.

Bartlett was one trip shy of making the list of the top 10 Congressional travelers. His travel cost an estimated $5,684, according to Roll Call.

Flying on military jets, which are more expensive than commercial flights, Bartlett went to:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Russia on March 13 through 16, 1999. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Bartlett went to Moscow on the eve of a Congressional debate about whether the United States needs to build a ballistic missile defense system. Bartlett and other members of Congress explained to Russian legislators that the system, which Congress ultimately decided not to build, should not be taken as aggression against them. Cost: $1,159.

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HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Austria April 30 through May 2, 1999. Bartlett and other members of Congress met again with members of Russia's Duma, this time focusing on ways to stop the war in Serbia. Cost: $458.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Norway, Germany, France and the Netherlands Aug. 8 through 17, 1999. U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., asked Bartlett to join a contingent seeking to coordinate international patent law. Bartlett himself holds 20 patents. Cost: 2,423.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Russia and Norway Nov. 20 through 25, 1999. A third trip to meet with members of the Russian Duma. Cost: $1,644.

Bartlett said he thought the trips were well worth the cost.

"I would have spent $5,700 of my own money. It's very critical to show the Russians the United States is not a monolith," he said.

Bartlett didn't travel during his first six years in Congress and hasn't traveled so far this year.

"I hate to travel," Bartlett said.

Bartlett criticized the Clinton Administration for refusing to consult the Russians before bombing Kosovo. His delegation's trip to Vienna resulted in an agreement that was the framework for peace five days later.

"The bombing did not stop that conflict. The involvement of the Russians stopped that conflict," Bartlett said.

The patent trip was important because many small business people in the United States can't afford to patent their ideas in every country. Sometimes, their ideas are stolen by other countries during the patent process, he said.

Bartlett's Democratic challenger in the upcoming election questioned how the trips benefited the people of Bartlett's district.

"What is the benefit for the people of the sixth district? It's a question of priorities. Why is their Congressman spending time overseas and how does it improve their lives?" said Don DeArmon.

Bartlett said the patent work will help small businesspeople in the district. And meeting with the Russian Duma was critical for world peace, he said.

"If we keep bombs from raining on us I think that helps the people of the sixth district. Anything we can do to make the world a safer place helps the people of the sixth district," he said.

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