Congress drops plan to spend $550 million on new jets
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House leaders have dropped plans to spend $550 million in the Air Force budget on passenger jets used by lawmakers and senior government officials, officials said on Monday.
The House of Representatives reversed the move to upgrade the executive jet fleet after public criticism, opposition from other lawmakers and the Defense Department had said it did not need more planes that it had requested.
"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.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she supports the decision.
Before leaving for the August congressional recess, the House approved a Defense Appropriation bill for fiscal year 2010 that included $550 million for three Gulfstream jets and five military versions of a Boeing 737.
The Pentagon's original request was $220 million to purchase one Gulfstream plane and three Boeing Co. aircraft.
Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said the four additional planes his subcommittee ordered would have replaced older aircraft that have safety and maintenance issues.
- Flights delayed as air pollution hits record in Shanghai
- White House reverses, says Obama met uncle and lived with him during law school
- South Africa mourns Mandela, will bury him on December 15 |
- French launch Central African Republic mission but deaths mount
- Supreme Court to decide on patent protections for software
Nelson Mandela: 1918 - 2013
Reuters looks at the life and times of Nelson Mandela, an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world. Video