The new congressional jets may be getting scrapped.
After an uproar over a proposed purchase of new executive jets for use by senior government officials, including members of Congress, the top Defense appropriator in the House has offered to eliminate funding
for the planes – but only if the Pentagon, which operates the jets, agrees.
“If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated
from the bill,” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommitee said Monday evening.
And in his statement, Murtha basically put the blame on the Pentagon
, whose spokesman has been quoted saying that the House Appropriations Committee added four executive jets beyond the Pentagon’s original request.
Murtha also needled the Pentagon
a bit, saying that “85 percent” of the use of these aircraft comes from the executive branch, and not Congress.
Murtha’s move may end what has been an embarrassing uproar
for House appropriators, who approved the Defense spending bill with no objection about the congressional jets. There is already a movement in the Senate to kill the funding for the aircraft.
Sen. Claire McCaskill
(D-Mo.) said the funding “kind of makes me sick to my stomach,” and has vowed to kill it. Sens. Jack Reed
(D-R.I.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), both senior members of the Armed Services Committee, have also voiced their opposition to the plan.
The controversy is not going unnoticed in the Senate Democratic leadership
circles either. Senate insiders said the Senate Appropriations Committee is unlikely to approve the additional plane funding, although Sen. Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the panel, was unavailable for comment on Monday.