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article imageCongress cancels spending spree on $550 million in private jets

By Patrick McMahon     Aug 10, 2009 in Politics
In what has outraged members of both political parties, the House of Representatives has approved a plan that will buy 8 private planes designed for government officials to travel in totaling $550 million.
The order calls for eight jets, both Gulfstream and Boeing, that are meant for members of Congress to use when traveling. When news of this broke, the general public and the Senate were outraged by the cost.
"The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) 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 like it's Monopoly money."
Senators from both parties are lining up to try and defeat the measure that they consider to be a waste of money during an economic downturn. Criticism is especially harsh after members of Congress lambasted CEOs for traveling by private planes to hearings, when they should have taken a commercial flight. It remains to be seen if enough support exists in the Senate to squash the House bill.
UPDATE: Today, the House of Representatives announced that they were scrapping the plan due to the public uproar associated with it. "If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill," Representative John Murtha, chairman of a House panel on defense appropriations, said in a statement. Nancy Pelosi's spokesperson has also said that the Speaker supports the decision to cancel the plans for eight passenger jets for government use.
The Department of Defense originally requested only 4 jets at a cost of $220 million, but Congressman Murtha's subcommittee ordered an additional 4 planes to replace older aircraft.
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