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. Tom Paine

    "Appearing extravagant?" How about IT IS EXTRAVAGANT. Talk about NOT getting it.

    Pelosi is a true Gump-style wonder.

    August 11, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Erwin Gentry

    Our so called representative should have to fly on commercial aircraft just like anybody else in this country.
    There is no reason in the world why they should garner any special consideration.
    They should also pay for their own airfare and quit screwing the tax payers out of our hard earned money while thay go on frivolous junkets all over the world.
    If they need to go some place then let them fly Southwest Airlines.

    August 11, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    Hmmm...ya think? That's just the rub...they WEREN'T thinking. I believe the jackals in DC have egos the size of Jupiter!!!! Only when their survival is threatened do they shift into gear to save their skin. Otherwise it's the same ol' BS! This reminds me a quote many, many years ago by Claude Pepper...."The mistake a lot of politicians make is in forgetting they've been appointed and thinking they've been anointed"! That pretty much sums it up these days!

    August 11, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. What?

    The HoR was going to MAKE the Pentagon buy more stuff? What in the world is going on in Congress these days?

    August 11, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Pragmatic

    Question: would buying the airplanes keep people working or is everyone in favor of a leaner budget? No easy answers. Keep buying American whenever you can.

    August 11, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Randy

    Is this the same congress that crucified corporate executives for using a private plane to fly to Washington? I guess they're just too important to fly the way they want CEOs of huge corporations to fly. Must be nice to be a member of the House responsible to mere thousands of consituents in just one district.

    August 11, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. cp1

    Buying planes will not make them cheaper to fly if uadd in the cost of the planes... Use the money for better housing/services for the soldiers... or hey pay off a bit of debt

    August 11, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Captain

    Buy the airplane.. keep the pilots flying so that they can afford health care.

    August 11, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Mike in MN

    They never should have had the gull to purchase them in the first place. The only way to stop this kind of thing is for Americans to pay attention and play the watch dog roll. Congress has gotten used to thinking no one is watching. They tell us what they think we want to hear and pretend that they are being responsible with tax payers money. If no one is watching they get away with it. The Devil is in the details whether it is the stimulus bill or the annual budget or CAP and trade or health care reform or anything else. The only protection we have it to dig into what the bills really say, no matter how many thousands of pages they are.

    August 11, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Deep Throat

    About time a Democrat came to his senses.

    August 11, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Jaybird

    We need to match up who wanted these jets with the Congressional weasels who slammed corporate executives in those hearing in January or February for flying private. I bet there is some crossover.

    August 11, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Fort Lauderdale

    All these "green" advocates of public transportation should take the railroad and the subway.

    August 11, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Patsy Hodges

    So, they dumped the four planes, but will keep the money !
    What does "other means" entail? First-class tickets? How
    about putting the money back and using it in a way they can be
    up front about. You know, its called DISCLOSURE!

    August 11, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Ren from Baltimore

    Wow, the Pentagon has had its way first with the F-22 and now these executive jets-way to go, Generals! And Congress-thank you for "getting it" finally. These are dangerous times, and I'm glad you listened.

    August 11, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Butch

    Sounds like Congressional members are no different that members of Wall Street. I'll vomit if I hear one more idealogue in D.C. preach about fiscal ethics.

    August 11, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. MatthewDetroit

    EVERYONE needs to get off the DEM VS. REP. Bandwagon.

    This is the US Citizen and the Constitution vs. our FAT AND HAPPY leaders on the hill and in ANY whitehouse.

    They all spend our money.
    They are accountable to no one.
    They tell us what and where they will spend.
    They LIE, CHEAT, STEAL, and get endited.
    It is time to stop these dirtbag politicians.

    August 11, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Steve

    Sense GM/CHEVY will keep AMERICA rolling in our graves and our pockets...
    Were do we the American stock holders of GM get to redeem my discount for my new VETTE? I have yet to see any new design concepts or talks of new designs for fuel efficient cars which scrape the surface of Toyota, Nissan or even some SUV Honda’s already have in production for about 12 years now. INDIA has a cost effective and fuel efficient truck which will be on the American market soon and will blow away any competition GM or Ford will be able to feebly create...
    I want to sell my stocks!!!

    August 11, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Christine

    Four is still too many. Fly coach!

    August 11, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Deep South Independent

    Please note that the addition request for planes was spearheaded by the REPUBLICANS who represent GA, where the Gulfstream luxuary aricrafts are built by locals. It was a local pork barrel project, meant to stimulate the ecomony, by the government picking the winners in business, by choosing the company that contributed campaign $ to the REPUBLICANS!

    For all of you who were bashing the democrats for this extra grab for taxpaper money, should open your eyes!

    August 11, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Carolyn

    If these clowns are so worried about the safety of their current private jets, they can ride commercial coach like the rest of us are forced to do. A few hours with screaming babies, surly attendants, $6.00 drinks, and, oh my, Baggage Charges if you'd like clean clothes when you finally get there (late), might bring these elected-by-us elitists back to the real world most of us inhabit. GET REAL.

    August 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    Still preposterous ... isn't this the same gang that told the Auto BIG 3 to fly commercial or drive to the Senate hearings?

    Not only should they scrub the 4 additional planes, they should scrub the original 4 and sell their existing fleet.

    It's amazing how they can grill the auto execs for spending shareholder money for their planes, yet, congress can spend the tax payers dollars on new and existing infrastructure and feel that they are entitled ... great example Mr. Murtha.

    Let them walk to work!

    August 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. makesUwonder

    Oh these poor poor people. To think they might just have to live and travel like the rest of us peasants!

    August 11, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. KLJ

    How come the representative or representatives have not been indentified?

    August 11, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Recall

    We need to start recalling the represenatives that are making fools of themselves, and wasting the future of this country.

    August 11, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Juan

    The reason they won't fly commercial is the same reason they don't want to be covered by the goverment health plan they are trying to run down our throats is they think their special. Start voting these a holes out in 2010.

    August 11, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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