In solidarity with the suffering American people, Nancy Pelosi has graciously agreed to limit her taxpayer-financed private jet fix to four brand-new aircraft totaling $220 million, as opposed to the $500 million worth of new jets she so richly deserved.
The House has backed off its attempt to make the Pentagon buy a whole bunch of new jets with which to ferry members of Congress around the country. As is customary with defense spending bills, members had tried to lard the budget with a bunch of spending that the Pentagon didn't actually ask for: In this instance, the Pentagon asked for one new Gulfstream and three new Boeing jets at a cost of $220 million, which the House tried to double to eight planes for half a billion dollars.
The reason, according to the Wall Street Journal, was that the Pentagon-maintained fleet that lawmakers currently use to fly around on official business are "expensive to operate and maintain" (read: "old and smell like a municipal bus").
But after a whole bunch of people pointed out that we don't have any money, and that federal dollars spent on private jets are more properly channeled through bailout funds to General Motors and Citibank, Pelosi and Rep. Jack Murtha decided to settle for a lousy four new planes.
Pelosi should have known better than to try to upgrade the congressional fleet—she's been attacked (unfairly) in the past for requiring a large private jet to fly her back and forth to her district. Whether the new planes are a good idea or not, the optics are terrible and they should be able to live with just the four brand new jets.