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. Ken

    It is about time that those in Congress wake up and listen to the American people.

    I only see that the Democrats just want to spend money that we don't have! It is time for our federal government to operate with a balanced budget. The American people have to live within their means, so whay can't our government do the same?

    August 11, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    BY all means buy them, just give me a job flying them, he he he.

    August 11, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter

    Wasteful spending faced the death panel! You betcha! Have a nice day!

    August 11, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. conservative

    But,But, Pelosi desparately wants one!

    August 11, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Mike TX

    Wow, way to tighten your belt buckles lads.

    August 11, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Jason

    Good. The Pentagon can spend that money on prosthetics and PTSD research.

    August 11, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Karen

    Maybe for once they listened to the outrage of the people! What a novel idea!!!
    We're in a recession Congress, live like we have to.

    August 11, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Lauren

    I think the money should be spent on health care reform.

    August 11, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Aaron

    What? Politicians are hypocrites? Color me shocked.

    August 11, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. jrzshor

    i guess that the old private jets will just have to do!

    August 11, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Vicky from Milwaukee

    Could it be that they're finally getting it?

    August 11, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Operation Crush Rush

    We need these planes to save fuel and keep people working.Keep up the great work crushers,Rush wants to test his healthcare and report back to us.Hes about to blow a fuse.hahaha

    August 11, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Shari, NY

    I am not for extravagance especially at this time but I cannot help but wonder how much it will cost to maintain the flying “clunkers” that will continue to serve. Sometimes maintenance and repair end of costing more than buying new machinery. In adition, I for one would not fly on an old silver bird. No way!

    August 11, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Louis

    WAKE UP AMERICANS–The people who are proposing to fix the economy are the same people who created this disaster. Both Democrats and Republicans are owned by special interest groups–just look at the current state of our nation and realize that both parties are equally wasteful and incompetent.

    August 11, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Chris in MI

    Why do these representatives think they are not expendable? Fly commercial and take your chances like the people who elected you!! $270 million could help alot of people in this country! You really have nerve!

    August 11, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Jim

    Why is it that these idiotic Democrats idiots in the Congress even THINK of wasting our money this way. It's just another example of the total lack of good judgment. And its another reason why we need to get rid of this lack of integrity and lack of just good, common sense. Our opportunity is coming up, America. Let's make 2010 the year of SENSIBLE CHANGE – NOT the kind of change we've seen with Obama!!

    August 11, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. GP

    Let the corporations pay for these jets. After all, our elected officials spend more time protecting corporate interests than us regular citizens.

    August 11, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. moo232

    Wow!! Private jets to ferry Members of Congress around. It's amazing how just a few short months ago Congress blasted the CEOs of Ford, GM and Chrysler for flying to Washington on corporate jets to ask for a bailout. Now, in their infinite wisdom, Congress has no qualms about spending taxpayer money for the very same perk. Do the members of Congress think the American people are stupid? Its high time we held our elected officials accountable for their actions. I am tired of these people lining their pockets with privlidge and perks on the back of the hard working public.

    August 11, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. RealityKing

    They progressively belittle private corporation for using jets and yet can only see their own waste when confronted head on. Change you can believe in..

    August 11, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Respect

    At these town halls meetings. They should start questioning the answers the people are giving so they can prove these people have no clue what they are asking. They are only taking talking points.

    This is unconstitutional! How is this unconsitituional? Where is it stated in the constitution and what article of the constitution are you referring too? How is this socialism? What is the definition of socialism? Where is it stated in the proposed bill that we will do that?

    August 11, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Respect

    I did that to someone who was spouting off at the mouth and saying the talking points. When I treated them like the child he was, he made himself look stupid. As he was!

    August 11, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Kyle

    Someone got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

    August 11, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. JAY

    Murtha and Pelosi tried to go through the backdoor again and got
    caught.

    August 11, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Democrati Ignorati

    "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."

    Well....what's the point of that? Spending extravagantly is still being extravagant. It doesn't matter if you are buying the planes or not. If Congress is not moving forward wit hthe purchase of the four additional planes, then strip the money out of the bill.

    August 11, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Phat Elvis

    And Congress wonders why they are so unpopular.

    Dems and Repubs alike, they need to get their heads straight on how taxpayer money is spent.

    August 11, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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