August 11th, 2009
01:35 PM ET
5 years ago

House to back off from controversial plane purchase

The House of Representatives is dropping a plan to make the Pentagon buy more civilian-style jets than it requested.
The House of Representatives is dropping a plan to make the Pentagon buy more civilian-style jets than it requested.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Under criticism for appearing extravagant, the House of Representatives is dropping a plan to make the Pentagon buy more civilian-style jets than it requested.

A statement released by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, appeared to end the controversy over the addition of four planes in the House military appropriations bill to the Pentagon's original request of four to upgrade its aging fleet of aircraft used to transport Washington officials, including members of Congress.

The Pentagon wanted a C-37 Gulfstream jet and three C-40 military versions of the Boeing 737. The House added two C-37s and two C-40s at a cost of more than $270 million.

Dropping the proposal doesn't save money, as the total funding provided by the bill remains unchanged. It means the money that would have been used to pay for the extra planes will go to other purposes.

But some members of Congress from both parties criticized the plan to buy the additional planes, saying it created the perception of spending extravagance by Congress. The Gulfstreams would be similar to private jets used by corporate executives, they noted.

Murtha's statement Monday night defended the plan, but said the additional aircraft will be dropped from the spending measure.

"These aircraft will not increase the overall passenger aircraft fleet, but instead will replace older aircraft that have both safety and maintenance issues," said Murtha, chairman of House defense appropriations subcommittee. "In addition, these newer model aircraft cost significantly less to operate than the current aircraft."

His statement concluded by yielding to the Pentagon's wishes, saying, "If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill."


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soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Good. They shouldn't have started it in the first place.

    August 11, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Kick the bums out

    Sounds like America is getting through to these elitist.

    August 11, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. MatthewDetroit

    OH NO KIDDING.

    So when Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama ripped the automotive companies for flying to DC on private jets that was bad.
    BUT, when congress wants private jets it is okay.

    Sorry FOLKS. YOUR TIME IS UP.
    THIS IS MORE PROOF THAT ALL OF CONGRESS IS TOO FAT AND TOO HAPPY and it starts with PELOSI.

    Double standard. AMERICA has to make cuts. Oh it will be tough for Americans. As dummy Barack says, we all have to cut.
    BUT NO CONGRESS IS HAVING TOO MUCH FUN.

    CUT SPENDING YOU BUMS AND CUT IT NOW.

    August 11, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. RDS

    Thank You b/c that was a dumb idea no matter what party you are with.

    August 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Jill

    Murtha is the best example out there of what is wrong with this country. He uses taxpayer money like his own treasure chest with no regard to anyone or future generations. He has plenty of company in the Democratic & Republian Party – vote them out.

    August 11, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Keith in Austin

    Obviously, these Congressional thieves got caught with their hands in the cookie jar again! (Our tax dollars) Vote them out starting in 210

    August 11, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. gt

    ya think...... these spend-a hollics need to be stop !!! give one check mark to the people...

    August 11, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    They better SCRAP that CRAP!!! It's about HEALTH CARE and the ECONOMY stupid!!!

    August 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. ASTROTURF THIS

    GOOD! Poor Nancy won't have her fancy jet to fly around on....she probably will anyway though, bumping the air force to get it.

    Now if Obama would just hold an HONEST debate with Americans on healthcare insteac of FAKE TOWN HALL meetings with hand-picked audience of supporters...What an INSULT to our intelligence this town hall was.

    Washington has gotten so greedy .....they are SO outta there next election.

    August 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. single mom

    Okay, it's a bit of progress. They realized that the American people are tired of all the spending without thinking or even reading a bill.

    August 11, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    The arrogance and hypocisy of some Congressman let by Murtha is just amazing. The incredible thing is that dropping the proposal won't save money since it has already been appropriated. I guess Mr. Murtha and colleagues will find something else to waste the money on. And these are the people that will be in charge of finding fraud and waste in the current Medicare system and to oversee how well a Nancy Pelosi type health care system will spend taxpayers money efficiently. I wish they had a clue as to why people are so upset at the town hall meetings.

    August 11, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    There is NO CASH for airplane CLUNKERS!!! LOL

    August 11, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Sam Sixpack

    What the heck? We can pay for it with Obama's “Independent Medicare Advisory Council."

    It will save us lots of money by systematically denying coverage to leaches like the sick, the elderly and the disabled.

    Check out "Independent Medicare Advisory Council” for yourself!

    August 11, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Mississippi Mike

    Forgive me for not feeling sorry for Mr. Murtha. Getting only 4 new jets instead of 8 must make him feel really sad but the rest of us can't even afford to fly on one of the discount airlines right now. Maybe our legislators should be forced to fly coach during the off-hours like the rest of us.

    August 11, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Pepou

    Washington officials ? they can walk can they?

    August 11, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Bea

    We do not need new airplanes – everybody should take the commercial flights – that will put money into the economy and maybe they will stop charging us all the extra fees for luggage. I am glad to live out of the US – at least I can take a little present to my grandchildren without having to pay more than it would cost to use the US postal service. And come to think ofit – nothing is that far – get a new fuel efficient car and drive your VIP's to where you want to go. They may enjoy our countryside.
    Only 3 people in our government should have the privilege – that is our President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State.
    With other words – stop spending money we do not have.

    August 11, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. The Voice

    These old people have been brain washed by the conservative special interest that want to the status quo to continue. America voted voted for change..now lets move and push healthcare reform!!

    August 11, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. mike

    Yet another reason why Congress approval rating is at 30%.

    August 11, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Buffalo

    But congressmen and women still get to fly first class on commercial aircraft, still get tremendous pay, still get an abundance of vacation time, still get obsurd retirement packages and still get the best health care in the world, all for free, right? Whew, for a second, I was afraid our elected officials might have to step down to our level for a change.

    August 11, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Bette Childress

    Yesss!!!

    August 11, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    Serious question
    Why can't Congress do what is right without being forced to by bad publicity? Just do what's right and you will get re-elected! It's just that simple! If you stay on your current path, then start looking for a new line of work!

    August 11, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. d1120

    "If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill."

    It must have killed him to say that.

    August 11, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Independent Again

    So they thought they could slip it in there and no one would noticed! Wow!! Just goes to show how much the Dems care that the American people are hurting.

    Thanks America for the new culture of corruption!

    August 11, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. mjm

    If they made the right decisions in the first place they wouldn't have to back off all the time.

    August 11, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Naomi

    good! Now we can reform healthcare!

    August 11, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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