Tales from the Trail

Congress scraps plan for new executive jets

August 11, 2009

Remember when members of Congress embarrassed auto executives who flew to Washington aboard private jets when their companies were looking for bailouts?

The public grilling that was replayed over and over again came back to haunt the lawmakers, reappearing in television news stories about the House adding four executive jets to a defense appropriations bill despite Pentagon objections.

Late Monday, House leaders reversed course and dropped plans to spend $550 million to upgrade the Air Force fleet used by senior government officials and members of Congress for world travel. The Pentagon had only requested $220 million to buy four passenger jets. So, the House leaders are reverting to the the original request.

When they boosted the order to eight executive jets, lawmakers said they were simply replacing aging aircraft and that the new ones would be far more cost-efficient to operate.

The argument might have been valid, but it did not help when the berating of the auto execs and their private planes kept getting mixed into the story about lawmakers and the plan to upgrade executive jets for their own use.

There was a loud chorus of public criticism and opposition from U.S. senators, other House members and even the Defense Department.

The Pentagon said it didn’t even want the extra jets and that the money would be better spent on something the military really needs.

“If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill,” said Rep. John Murtha, whose panel added the upgraded planes┬áto the Pentagon’s fiscal 2010 budget request.

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Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

an example of what could be disguised in the government health plan that apparently nobody has read! If this had not have been spotted doe,s anyone think Murtha would have acted to cancel the order? the king of pork himself.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive
 

To all “Angry Mobsters” out there.. This shows that our voices do get heard. So keep the pressure on your legislators, thet are learning that they have to listen to the ordinary people.

 

The stupid reason they are doing this is because they got caught. I’m so tired of the politicians that are in office… Just a true reminder to all of them… at most of their ages. there awaits each one of them a tombstone.. it is coming much sooner to each of them than they think… death is eminent of each of us… so why not use the common sense and do something better for America

Posted by Art | Report as abusive
 

Congressional representatives and Senators should travel on commercial airlines. And coach – not first class. This is outrageous.

Posted by Carletta Morris | Report as abusive
 

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