The eight new jets Congress wants to ferry their members to unknown destinations will cost the Pentagon $550 million. The Pentagon wants to fund soldiers and not congressional jet travel. To fly in the face of conservatism, House Minority leader, Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) is planning a trip around the world with five other members of congress.
Congress says the jets are used 44 percent of the time for military and only 14.5 percent of the time for lawmakers. The question is, why would the military need a business-class passenger jet to ferry military officials? The requested C-40’s, known as the 737 is “designed to be an office in the sky.” Throughout it is configured with first-class accommodations, including a “distinguished visitor” compartment with sleep accommodations. Now what does that mean? Is Speaker Pelosi considered a “distinguished visitor,” or must she sleep in her first-class, leather-clad seat.
The Obama administration pushed “lawmakers” to drop plans for F-22 fighter jets, but requested a mere $220 million to buy four passenger jets. Congress is bestowing him with double the funding and double the jets. An existing fleet of about two dozen passenger jets is currently maintained by the Air Force for Congress, the administration and military chiefs.
The Wall Street Journal says that the demand for travel by congressional officials is “growing.” Another question is why?
The Wall Street Journal give an example of August 2009 travel for Congress:
This month, for example, 11 separate congressional delegations will swing through Germany. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio is leading five other lawmakers on a trip around the world. Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) is taking a group of senators and their spouses to Europe for three weeks.
A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said he couldn’t comment on the trip for security reasons. A spokeswoman for Mr. Shelby said the same.
I would say to John Boehner, keep your delegation at home. I also want to know what Democrats are traveling at taxpayer’s expense, if not this month during their vacation, then in September or October or November. In Boehner’s defense, there is no reason for him to be in the halls of Congress because there is nothing there for a Republican to do…but why a trip around the world? And why am I paying for it?
From the Wall Street Journal:
Lawmakers typically fly on military jets, where members of the Armed Services carry bags and take drink orders. When flying on military jets, lawmakers are permitted to bring along spouses at no cost.
Congress and the administration has severely criticized private business for leaving their big carbon footprint on the world through their jet and luxury car travel. Perhaps this is the most ridiculous statement out of the House in a while, other than Pelosi’s “swastika” comment:
Ellis Brachman, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the changes were part of “Congress’s normal oversight responsibility” to make sure “the troops have everything they need.”
The Pentagon is right to be outraged about this unnecessary spending during some very tough economic times, and it is sad to note that the Pentagon and the soldiers will lose this fight. To say that I am disappointed in Congressman Boehner is an understatement. He and his friends must cancel this trip around the globe. I also suggest that Congress serve the drinks and carry the bags for the soldiers.
Photos and graphics courtesy WSJ