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.