Congress buys 3 private jets for $200 million

posted at 2:55 pm on August 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when Congress erupted in outrage over the arrival in Washington DC of the CEOs of the three major American automakers in private jets?  The bumbling public relations of the Big Three gave elected officials an opportunity to indulge in populist spleen-venting at rich fat cats and their greed.  Public pressure pushed the automakers to dump their private fleets of corporate jets and focus belt-tightening in the executive suites as well as on the manufacturing floor.

Who knew that Congress merely wanted to undercut price on their own purchase of private jets?

Last year, lawmakers excoriated the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for traveling to Washington, D.C., by private jet to attend a hearing about a possible bailout of their companies.

But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel: At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.

The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service.

But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.

Normally, that would be considered an earmark.  However, since Appropriations merely expanded a line item instead of creating one, it didn’t require the member to identify him/herself.  Instead, the jet-setter will remain anonymous — and Congress as a whole can take the blame for passing it.

How about it, America?  Does this Congress need three more private jets, or even one?  Should they not fly commercial like the rest of us?  Considering the massive deficits this administration and the Democrats in Congress now run — much worse than anything remotely imagined at GM, Chrysler, or Ford — should they not hold themselves to the standard they dramatically demanded from the CEOs of the automakers last November?

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Is it me–or have these pols started to think of themselves as royalty?..and with our money.

jeanie on August 5, 2009 at 3:29 PM

EXACTLY!!!!! Just as removed from reality as they can get and as critical of we “smelly masses” as they can be (remember Reid the syllable-dropper made mention of that before the new Capitol Visitor’s Center was opened). I certainly hope everybody begins to notice it and remark on it more openly whenever possible.

It has gotten to be so much fun criticizing and mocking liberal Democrat pols that I almost regret that they are going down in flames in 2010. So Stupid! So Arrogant!

ExpressoBold on August 5, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Terry Silver on August 5, 2009 at 3:38 PM
If you try to fight tomorrows war with todays equipment you will lose.

aceinstall on August 5, 2009 at 5:26 PM

If socialism succeeds this will be the norm of the future.



allrsn on August 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Yes, of course, Orwell’s attacks of Stalinism were based upon all of those Capitalistic attributes of Uncle Joe and the Soviet Union. I’ve read Ayn Rand. And throughout her writings is the message that there is no God, that Man exists for Man’s sake, and that Man is to do all that the freedom of Man will allow. No thanks. Man, without God, is “cartoonish,” to me.

You might try looking into Orwell a little more closely. 1984 was based, in part, on Zamyatin’s We. Zamyatin lived under the Statism of Communism and the Bolsheviks. We was an attack on State-controlled societies. 1984 is the greatest distopian book, ever written. The distopia of the individual being controlled by the State. It has nothing to do with an attack on Capitalism.

Once again, 1984 attacked any State system that would tyrannize the individual. That is the epitome of any Statist society. State control.

I’ll no longer engage in a pissing-match, when my opponent is only full of shit.

OhEssYouCowboys on August 5, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Yes, since capitalism is a system defined by socialists not so much by its economic system as by its class divisions, Stalinist Russia would still be very much capitalist to them.

You might try looking into Orwell a little more closely. If you disregard Rand for her atheism, you have to do the same for him, since his beliefs were essentially the same. To attack one of the only open proponents of free-market capitalism in her time because she doesn’t indulge your primitive superstitions demonstrates that you’re incapable of rationality. Go on worshipping an author who doesn’t share the your political beliefs.

And by all means disengage from the debate…you lost it.

ZJPolitical on August 5, 2009 at 5:53 PM

*better part of your political beliefs

ZJPolitical on August 5, 2009 at 5:57 PM

In that picture, I see three perfect A$$holes.

PappaMac on August 5, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Regular airlines are not Nancy’s ‘style’. Just more of that ‘political elite’ nuance.

GarandFan on August 5, 2009 at 7:01 PM

How do you spell “WHAAA…THA UUUGHERRRRRMUTHAFUUUU-KERRRS…NOOOOOO SSTOPPP!!!” Because that’s what I yelled at my monitor when I read this headline.

silenced majority on August 5, 2009 at 7:18 PM

I sure as hell hope the air pressure in the tires in up to snuff.
Just think how much money that will save us taxpayers over the next 4 years.

elderberry on August 5, 2009 at 7:18 PM

Congress doesn’t travel like the little people, anymore than they’ll sign up for any health care “reform” package they mandate for the little people. Besides, Nancy’s been late to her last couple of Botox appointments in San Francisco, and was charged a late fee, so she HAS to be on time. Steny Hoyer, meantime, is planning to use one of the aircraft to go tour the Erie Canal, to check how it was paid for by a single STATE and not the entire Federal government, which he apparently said today.

bradley11 on August 5, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Sell those Jets.. I can’t afford them.

Noelie on August 5, 2009 at 8:04 PM

It’s only $200,000,000.00. In the noise, right?

unclesmrgol on August 5, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Hmmm, wasn’t The One challenging his staff to identify $100M savings in the federal budget. Lookee here– not $100, but $200 Million in savings.

Go after it guys!

AZfederalist on August 5, 2009 at 11:03 PM

Maybe you’d better re-read your history as regards to Marie Antoinette. The moon-faced, unwashed masses have had it up to here with your arrogance, Ms. Pelosi. All that BOTOX must’ve leaked through to your brain ‘cuz you don’t seem to have a clue as to why your wasting a hundred million on this and two hundred million on that irks your constituents.

Face it … You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and have yet to grow up and experience the real lives that those hundreds of thousands of us adversely impacted by your idiotic and juvenile decision must deal with on a daily basis.

StimulateTHIS on August 5, 2009 at 11:25 PM

3 More Private Jets…..

Is that part of the $787 Billion or is this going to cost us more?

So much for all those Green House Gases they are all complaining about! You guys are really going to make Al Gore cry about this.

BigMike252 on August 5, 2009 at 11:30 PM

Just think–they get new jets, but they will let us have the lastest horse and buggy.

mobydutch on August 6, 2009 at 12:16 AM

Low-hanging fruit here.

personally, I’m done with this junk stuff.

AnninCA on August 6, 2009 at 12:29 AM

Is it time yet?

Midas on August 6, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Is it time yet?

Midas on August 6, 2009 at 12:31 AM


izoneguy on August 6, 2009 at 12:40 AM

Since we can’t count on Jon Stewart and the rest of the “brave” nutroots lovers to highlight this hypocrisy, we are going to have to rely on Fox News doing it.

Speedwagon82 on August 5, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Not to worry, he’s still trying to dig up all of that Bush Crony-ism. Jon Stewart: Real Leftist Propagandist!

Upstater85 on August 6, 2009 at 2:55 AM

Supported by a nice, tidy donation by William Jefferson, the DEMOCRAT found guilty of taking bribes.

He is now CrockObama’s new Bi-czar of fundraising.

dthorny on August 6, 2009 at 6:57 AM

So,the Left went gonzo ballistic over the GM Execitives
traveling in private jets!!

But,now the Liberals are awash in American tax payers
money,mortgages on their childrens future,its A-Okay!!

Outstanding guts,and stupidity,

your Liberal Party hard at work!!

canopfor on August 6, 2009 at 7:40 AM

Obama, Pelosi and Reid should be forced to peddle Big Wheels around the country.

To fit what they’ve made of their office.

This is what we get when the media persuades Americans to elect incompetent, corrupt Democrats to high office.

NoDonkey on August 6, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Ed! This is amazing. BTW, when I meet with government reps we can’t even buy them a $5 lunch! WTF is this?

NickelAndDime on August 6, 2009 at 9:31 AM

F-22’s – bad money. 3 Gulfstream jets for our elected members: no problem.

Perhaps we can play the deranged liberal game of comparing the jet costs to the loss of American lives through the lack of airpower.

Wapo front page material…

Odie1941 on August 6, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Who would Sarah Palin sell the jets to if she was elected?

workingforpigs on August 6, 2009 at 10:59 AM

They just ordered 3 escape pods so they can escape somewhere to party with the taxpayer money. It would be interesting to see the passenger list and flight logs of where they go wouldn’t it?

workingforpigs on August 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM

Should they not fly commercial like the rest of us?

But, but, but…if they fly commercial, they might actually have some contact with the governed masses. That is just unacceptable to expect them to put up with that. /sarc

tballard on August 6, 2009 at 11:42 AM

At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.

Probably a contingency plan for when they are forced to flee the country (hopefully that day will come).

Goodeye_Closed on August 6, 2009 at 11:54 AM

But, but, but…if they fly commercial, they might actually have some contact with the governed masses. That is just unacceptable to expect them to put up with that. /sarc
tballard on August 6, 2009

Wasn’t that the reason the capitol building went through a billion dollar upgrade?

“My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Reid in his remarks. “In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”

Goodeye_Closed on August 6, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Goodeye_Closed on August 6, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Sorry….should have mentioned that was a Harry Reid(D.Nevada) quote

Goodeye_Closed on August 6, 2009 at 11:59 AM

I think it’s a little unfair to post Pelosi’s picture and associate her with this boondoggle. After all, she’s not personally going to benefit from the Gulfstream purchase as Her Highness insists on nothing less than a 757.

kd6rxl on August 6, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Get a big used Goodyear blimp for congress to travel in except for Nancy Lugosi – she can have a new broom to fly.

Parley on August 6, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Congress buys 3 jets. I hope they all crash.

Jeff from WI on August 6, 2009 at 2:52 PM

Pelosi and Reid want company jets to maximize productivity and efficiency? That’s a laugh.
In a company for which I had previously worked, any employee was allowed to fly on the company jets if room was available, and encouraged to do so! I wonder if Reid, Pelsoi et al will allow government employees the same opportunity.

diogenes on August 6, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Isn’t this the same bunch that went to Italy just after the election to wind down from winning? Can’t wait to see where they go with the new fleet of planes.

workingforpigs on August 6, 2009 at 6:01 PM

If they were outfitted with a bucket to sit on and a bottle of water that would be one thing, but I am certain the insides are tricked out to the max.

workingforpigs on August 6, 2009 at 6:02 PM

HELLO DARWIN 4:20 PM–The lack of designing the F-4 Phantom fighter without a gun was based on the superior performance of radar and IR guided missiles fired at much longer ranges.
At very high supersonic speeds the fighter is moving faster than the bullets it fired a few seconds before. Some fighters actually shot themselves down as they dove through a cloud of their own slowed down bullets and cannon shells.
Retrofitting a cannon for external carry on the F-4 was done since the Air Force was afraid of “friendly fire” incidents. When 9 out of 10 planes in the air are your own you are afraid to trust IFF working properly and are afraid fire at long range. When the pilots were forced to get so close to the MIG’s that they could visually identify them the superior design of the F-4 was negated by the Air Force Brass. Like the poor ground pounder G.I–the pilot’s lives were put at risk for no good reason.
John Bibb

rocketman on August 6, 2009 at 6:42 PM

As a pilot and longtime AOPA member I’m normally a staunch defender of general aviation, even the Big Three CEOs’ use of bizjets to go to DC to plead for a bailout.

But this… really… chaps… my… …

Naaawwww, fuggedabouddit. If we didn’t give them Gulfstreams they’d fly commercial and stink up the whole plane. Who wants that? Or else, they’d cop a ride on a military transport, and do you really want to subject our servicemen and women to that?

Cheap at twice the price.

(Especially given the fact that they could have bought used airplanes really cheap because of the stunningly-depressed market thanks to the faux outrage over the legit use of business-travel tools…)

skydaddy on August 6, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Hey, Ed. Need an update – it is eight planes now.

Vashta.Nerada on August 7, 2009 at 10:09 AM