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."