Vice President Joe Biden kicked off 2015 leading a presidential delegation to Brazil for the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff as president of that country. The vice president was only in the country on New Year's Day, for the inauguration and an hour-long meeting with Rousseff before returning to St. Croix where he rejoined his family for vacation. However, documents show that vehicles for the vice president and the rest of the delegation and entourage for the duration of their stay cost an estimated $229,358:
Although contracts for foreign VIP trips are routinely posted at the government's contracting website, the documents for this particular trip provide a rare look at the breakdown of the cost. Contained within the Justification and Approval document for the Brazil trip is a listing of the types of vehicles needed, the quantity, and the cumulative number of days the vehicles were expected to be utilized. The list includes twenty-two sedans, twenty-seven 15-passenger vans, three "box" trucks, a cargo van, a 44-passenger bus, and an SUV. The prices for all the vehicles (listed in Brazilian currency) include drivers, as well.
The White House and State Department typically do not release details of the number of persons on such trips, nor the exact duration of the stay. Advance security teams and other staff who coordinate the trips arrive early and may stay after the principals have left. However, based on a daily use of twenty-two sedans and twenty-seven 15-passenger vans, the number seems likely to be in the hundreds. Since the cargo van was estimated to be in use for thirteen days, it seems likely some U.S. personnel were in the country for about two weeks surrounding the vice president's visit on New Year's Day.Details on the hotel contract for lodging for the Brazil trip were also posted. In another rarity, the vehicle cost exceeded that of the lodging. The estimated cost for lodging at the Royal Tulip in Brasilia was $191,689.The documents do not include the number of rooms required or the duration of the stay.