Friday, August 7, 2009

Wire: Lawmakers Slate $500 Million for 8 Air Force Commuter Jets

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

The Pentagon didn't request the additional planes.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported Congress plans to spend $550 million to buy eight jets, a substantial upgrade to the fleet used by federal officials at a time when lawmakers have criticized the use of corporate jets by companies receiving taxpayer funds.

The purchases will help accommodate growing travel demand by congressional officials. The planes augment a fleet of about two dozen passenger jets maintained by the Air Force for lawmakers, administration officials and military chiefs to fly on government trips in the U.S. and abroad, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The congressional shopping list goes beyond what the Air Force had initially requested as part of its annual appropriations. The Pentagon sought to buy one Gulfstream V and one business-class equivalent of a Boeing 737 to replace aging planes. The Defense Department also asked to buy two additional 737s that were being leased, the Journal said.

Penatgon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the Department of Defense didn't request the additional planes and doesn't need them. "We ask for what we need and only what we need," he told reporters Wednesday. "We've always frowned upon earmarks and additives that are above and beyond what we ask for."

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Congress Gets an Upgrade

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