[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/06/art.jet.jpg caption="A group of Democratic and Republican senators are opposed to spending more than $550 million on new jets."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In an update to a story we brought you last week in the Cafferty File:
A group of Republican and Democratic senators is now saying "not so fast" to the House's plans to spend more than a half a billion dollars on new jets.
The Wall Street Journal reports that these senators - along with the Pentagon - are critical of the $550 million plan to buy 8 new Gulfstream and Boeing planes for government officials and VIP's to fly around in.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill says, "The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach" adding that the move paints members of Congress as "out of touch”, spending money like it's Monopoly money. Several senators are planning to oppose the purchase when they take up the bill in the fall.
Originally the administration wanted $220 million to buy 4 jets to replace older planes. But - before the House left town on vacation - they doubled the order to 8. The measure was part of a larger defense-funding bill.
In a masterful bit of rationalization, supporters in the House claim buying eight new jets would actually save money later on because the new planes are cheaper to operate than the older ones. They say it's not a question of whether or not the planes will be bought, but when they'll be bought.
More rationalization: Those who approved this extravagance claim these jets are mostly used by the military, and that members of Congress only use them 15% of the time. So I guess that makes it all OK.
UPDATE: Late Monday, the House dropped plans to spend $550 million on these jets. Instead they're asking for $220 million, the original amount requested by the Pentagon.
Here’s my question to you: Should the House cancel its order for $550 million worth of new jets?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Ted from Beaverton, Oregon says:
Yes. Maybe they will find a heck of a lot of business that really isn't as official as they pretend, and spend time in their offices and on the floor of the House reading the bills they pass off on us. Let them go coach for a while and see what their constituents are stuck with.
The $550 million for new Gulfstream and Boeing jets should be cancelled immediately. The House members should take up driving hybrids, flying coach on commercial airlines, using teleconferencing and video conferencing, and riding bicycles.
Don from Louisiana says:
I don't have a problem with the government buying jets. What's the difference between $500 million in jets and $500 million in stimulus? These jets will put more people to work than most of the "projects" in the stimulus bill.
With all of the TARP, bailout and healthcare discussions, we're asked to think about the greater good. When 1 in 9 people are collecting food stamps and businesses are boarded up and unemployment is skyrocketing and spending is down everywhere, how can Congress rationalize this? Seems that everyone except the government is being asked to tighten their belts.
Patsy from Texas says:
Absolutely, it should be cancelled. I called my congressman's office to ask how he voted on the Appropriations Committee, but they said those votes were not disclosed, and my congressman was in Alaska, so they could not ask him. I then e-mailed the question, and of course, no answer yet. What a rude awakening this has been, and I am happy to see that someone, somewhere, is seeing this for what it is. Scratching each others backs while "Rome is burning". Thanks, Jack, for not letting this thing die!
Hell yes! Cancel the planes or we'll cancel them in the next election cycle!