Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shocked & Appalled, part 164

Remember last year when Congress publicly humiliated several executives from the Big Three for taking private jets to congressional hearings on the bankruptcy of the US auto industry? Well, now Roll Call informs us that Congress has just ordered three shiny new private jets of their own:
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.

Because the Appropriations Committee viewed the additional aircraft as an expansion of an existing Defense Department program, it did not treat the money for two more planes as an earmark, and the legislation does not disclose which Member had requested the additional money. ...

The Gulfstream G550 is a luxury business jet, which the company advertises as featuring long-range flight capacity that “easily links Washington, D.C., with Dubai, London with Singapore and Tokyo with Paris.” ...

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) had submitted a request to the Appropriations Committee for a $70 million earmark for one airplane on behalf of Georgia-based Gulfstream, and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) lists the airplane as one of the earmarks that he was asked to request, though his office said he never made the request to the Appropriations Committee.

“The committee saw fit to fund it at that level” without Kingston’s involvement, his spokesman said.
Shocking, I know!

I guess in defense of Congress, one could argue that it's technically not "hypocrisy" because last year the car companies were only going bankrupt, while the US has been bankrupt for years!

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