CONGRESS | 13TH DISTRICT | Sixty-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives use a portion of their congressional office budget to lease personal cars and Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee is one of them.

The expenditure is not illegal, but at a time of financial belt-tightening led by Republicans in the House, the issue rose to prominence last week when Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) advocated for prohibiting the act of leasing automobiles on taxpayers’ dime. Nugent’s amendment narrowly failed.

According to House rules, members can charge their vehicle leases to the office’s up to $1,000 a month provided they are low greenhouse gas-emitting cars..

House members had an average monthly car payment of $610.23, according to a report in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal. Lee’s bill, however, was below average at $507.07, according to her office’s statement of disbursement, or $6,084 annually.

Other Bay Area members of Congress using their budget for car payments include, Rep. George Miller, who averages $516.52 per month and the South Bay’s Rep. Anna Eshoo at $392.30.

Meanwhile, the highest monthly car payment belongs to Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) at $1,318.97.