WASHINGTON -- Bipartisan
opposition is emerging in the Senate
to a plan by House lawmakers to spend $550 million for additional passenger jets for senior government officials.
The resistance to buying eight Gulfstream and Boeing planes comes as members of both chambers of Congress embark on the busiest month of the year for official overseas travel. The plan to upgrade the fleet of government jets, which was included in a broader defense-funding bill, has also sparked criticism from the Pentagon
, which has said it doesn't need half of the new jets.
House Minority Leader
John Boehner opposes the jet purchase. Two Missouri senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill
and Republican Christopher Bond, said they would oppose funding for the jets when the legislation is taken up by the Senate in September.
"The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach
," said Mrs. McCaskill in an interview Sunday. "It is evidence that some of the cynicism about Washington is well placed -- that people get out of touch and they spend money likes it's Monopoly money."
Mrs. McCaskill said she was lobbying members
of the Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose funding for the planes. She said she has spoken to several senators on the panel who oppose the funding, including Mr. Bond. A spokesman for Mr. Bond confirmed that he "opposed the funds for the jets."