August 11th, 2009
01:35 PM ET
9 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. mobster

    About time they practice what their shoving down our throats.Wonder if pelosi is going to take the bus now.

    August 11, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    Murtha should be ousted from the Congress for all his ambtious stands he has taken!

    August 11, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Good – those Republican Congressmen from Georgia that tried to push this thru for the State of Georgia Contracts have been put in their place.

    Georgia – vote them out.

    August 11, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Tony83702

    It would be nice if these $$$ saved would help increase the paychecks for the enlisted men, but I fear they will be used to enhance the subsized menu at the Generals/Admirals private dining rooms in the Pentagon or some other extravagant perq for the top brass..

    August 11, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Proud Member..Party of No

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

    Why didn't you talk to them BEFORE you put it in the bill, you incompetent fool? And, of course, the answer is that the democrats tried to sneak it through buried in the bill. Wake up, America. Vote the lying, thieving democrats out of office.

    August 11, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Johnny B

    Not the right time to be wasting taxpayer dollars, so that members of congress can avoid flying coach. Why are congressional leaders so important again?

    August 11, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    Hey Murtha, then stand up and tell everyone exactly what the cost savings are and how long the payback period is in which these jets would pay for themselves.

    My guess is no one ever did that analysis.

    August 11, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. luis

    John Murtha is one of the biggest thieves in the government.
    I wouldn't trust this guy to buy 4 scooters.

    August 11, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Oh, they'll pass on them alright........for now. They'll sneak them in some way, when no one is looking or everyone is distracted by something else.

    Is there some reason why congressmen can't fly economy class like the rest of us? Is there some reason why they couldn't make intelligent decisions without going globetrotting around the world when they could just pick up a phone or type an email? Of course not. They're parasites and scoundrels living like royalty off the rest of us!

    August 11, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. G200

    I'm surprised that the article doesn't mention that the aircraft are built in Israel, flown 'green' to the U.S., and then completed. Not much of the money spent stays in the US.

    August 11, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Scott

    Fly coach, none of you are that important.

    August 11, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Shadysider

    The extra planes may have been a good thing. Then our elected representatives wouldn't feel beholden to special interests who make sure they fly first class.

    August 11, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Rob

    Awwww, poor wittle Nancy doesn't get her new pwane. Boo hooo!

    They based the automaker CEO's for taking private planes, they shouldn't get them either. From their perks, to the planes, to healthcare, Pelosi and her goons are showing that what is apparently good for all other Americans is beneath them.

    Way to lead by example!

    August 11, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Brian

    not really concerned with the "safety" of the "older" congressional airplanes, just the price of the new ones.

    August 11, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Steve, Columbia SC

    Murtha doesn't get it..................STOP SPENDING OUR TAX MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE.

    Next time, fly coach like the real world does.

    August 11, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. PowerCorrupted

    So let me get this straight.

    The scumbags get caught sneaking in more bling toys to live the high life, so they shamefacedly say they are not gonna buy they planes.

    "Dropping the proposal doesn't save money, as the total funding provided by the bill remains unchanged."

    But the money doesnt change, freeing up another $270 million tax payer dollars to vanish into the black hole that has swallowed American prosperity. How many black projects will this fund?

    When will we wake up and demand better?

    August 11, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Good. These jokers were tone-deaf to the public until the Wall Street Journal exposed the farce.

    August 11, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. katiec

    I still would like to know what politicians and state they represent
    inserted the request for additional planes.
    Others are old and need maintainence? Well, welcome to what
    middle class America has to contend with every day.

    August 11, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Karen

    I'd still like to see our elected officials using the same planes, buses and trains we're forced to use squished next to someone else. This all seems way too extravagant still.

    August 11, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. jon

    Yes, thanks to cable news organizations, including CNN and FOX, people have been informed and reacted. Washington got the message from the people is serves, no additional jets.

    Now, why is it that cable news organizations would be to blame if Health care doesn't pass?

    August 11, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Troy

    Words cannot describe the anger that I feel right now. I hope all Americans pursue this issue with their elected representatives, and if if they discover those elected representatives still defend this purchase, that they take action at the polls during elections. Do not forget what this Murtha guy says. No matter now you slice it, there is no defense of this additional cost when government criticizes private companies, who have no obligation answering to the thugs in Washington, over their use of private aircraft. I also have to wonder why Rep. Murtha thinks he knows better than the Pentagon to give them more than they asked for. Is he some kind of expert beyond the skills of those people at the Pentagon who are doing their job? Something is fishy here. His leather seat on one of the aircraft must be worn out from his fat.....

    August 11, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Ray

    I WANT a jet. It's a matter of need. Now is not a good time to purchase items that are not needed. This isn't business as usual at my house or work and it shouldn't be for OUR government!!! To have a person like Murtha say "if the DOD doesn't want it" tells me some are not feeling the same cutbacks I feel daily!!! Very frustrating to hear. Unfortunately I'm sure it won't be the last excessive spending done by OUR government. They can't help themselves.

    August 11, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. rhoward

    Considering the miserable job most of these clowns are doing, they ought to have to fly economy class like people in the real world do.

    August 11, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Enough

    Did the light bulb finally go off and they figured out this wasn't such a good idea in the middle of a recession?

    August 11, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Jon in CA

    Pelosi – Murtha – Hoyer – Reid – Specter – Dodd – Obama.....

    Democrats SURE to lose their next re-election bids. Controlling the House, Senate, and White House, they lowered their masks and went hell-bent on a reckless spending spree.

    Conservatives and Independents will throw you out!

    August 11, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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