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August 6th, 2009
08:58 AM ET

Congress Spending to Fly in Style?

Remember last year - when members of Congress attacked the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for flying private jets to Washington to attend a hearing for possible bailout money? Well, flash forward to the present - and many taxpayer watchdogs are saying that congress has authorized nearly $200 million in additional spending so that members can fly in style.

Congress recently passed the Defense Appropriations Bill which included funding for three new Gulfstream jets - assigned to an Air Force unit. But it is reported that these jets will be used to shuttle congress members around the nation and world 20 percent of the time. The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream jet priced at about $65 million, but the House Appropriations Committee added another $132 million for two more airplanes.

What do you think? Let us know and we'll read some of your comments on-air.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Larry

    This is rotten.

    Why can't they fly business class commercial, like everyone else.

    If we looked close at the spending that goes on in Washington we'd find enough waste to fund health care reform and lower the defecit.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  2. Betty Eldridge

    Why am I not surprised!!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  3. lynda

    that is insane..I would rather have my money spent on the economy, health care, education, financial aid for higher education, health care, or even more inportant something that will effect the american people not just the higher execs!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  4. route66girl

    Are you kidding me???? I am tired with the politic games! These people truly are NOT intouch with the American people. Makes me sick.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  5. akala

    Just goes to show the hypocrisy of Congress has not changed. Do as i say, not as i do.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  6. Ross Davis

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the dawn of tyranny and oppression of our values as a people and the assault on our country's constitutional fabric. Hypocrisy is the first step in totalitarianism, so scream the annals of history.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  7. Shaun

    Heidi, this is government hypocrisy at its' best. They give a great hue and cry about the auto industry flying in their jets and when their is a constant argument about our deficit they spend money on this? We can't get healthcare passed for fears of increased debt but there is plenty of money to carry them around in style to voice all these fears on debt, how fortunate for them!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  8. ojb

    Just another example of our 'fine' elected officials looking out for themselves no matter what is happening to the rest of us. There's money in the budget for new planes and not for health care? PLEASE!!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  9. Steve S

    The fact that they asked for 1 jet and got 3 should cause someone to loose any authority they had to authorize such requests. The fact that it was approved shows the appalling double standards in Congress. Next you will tell me that Congress will not be accepting the new healthcare plan as their ONLY healthcare plan!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  10. Nancy Abair

    Those planes are just one more example of the duplicity of Congress. They even hid this in such a way that the coward responsible for adding this to the bill is hidden. They wonder why we are ANGRY?!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  11. Patrick

    How many times can we say, "Congress just doesn't get it"? I think they get it, they just don't care. They know this too will blow over in a few days and they will get what they want. Does anyone talk about Nancy Pelosi's ridiculous boondoggle to Italy during tough financial times anymore?

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  12. Greg Castro

    How hypocritical. These men and women are supposed to be our leaders. They talk to us about spending wisely, reducing our carbon footprint, and cutting back in these hard times, and they have the nerve to go off and spend 200 million on planes? Because their old ones aren't good enough anymore? I've never even had a plane! But if I did, I'm pretty sure I could make due with the first one I had for awhile, especially when I had a whole country suffering around me.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  13. Jason

    The severity of the worldwide economic collapse has decimated the private aircraft industry. Rather than plunk down $132 million for new jets the government should have leased or purchased existing Gulfstream jets from charter aircraft companies. Use the jets already in service, assign them to the Air Force and save the country a hundred million or so. Wake up Washington!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  14. Jackie

    They should be publicly ridiculed in the same manner they treated auto executives. Perhaps they would think about how they treat others in the future especially in the public hearings they conduct.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  15. Eric Baker

    Trading the F-22 for Gulfstream Jets, must be national security isn't important anymore.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  16. Louis N Lemieux

    Hell NO! They can fly coach like the rest of us. What happened to "public servants?" And, how hypocritical – they were so appalled that private industry exec's were taking their own jets to D.C. – how can they justify this? If my representatives vote in favor of this – they'll get a letter from me too. My tax dollars shouldn't contribute to their butts flying in style!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  17. Jim

    President Obama vowed to review and cut unnecessary spending line item by line item. It looks like someone has taken their eye off the ball. It's just more of the same old spending of the past. Promises, promises... Politics as usual.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  18. Ruth

    Why do politicians continually want to misappropriate funds? The jets are being paid for with our tax money. We don't need three jets; the Air Force only requested one. Why can't congress members ride in normal jets like everyone else? Just because they're in congress doesn't make them better than anyone else. Plus, it was our votes that put them there in the first place so they need to start looking out for the good of the American people rather than being self-serving. There are much better things that the extra $132 million can be spent on (like paying off our skyrocketing national debt!)

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  19. Jay Matukas

    Do we know all the details? Whenever there is a tragic accident, either in the air, on the ground, or by sea. The first thing we are quick to look at is the repair or replacment history of the unit. I am not quick to defend congress however I can only hope the decision was made based on saftey and security not simply a pleasureable upraged.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  20. Ina

    It is unbelievable that congress can pass such spending when the rest of Americans can’t afford food. They should fly with commercial airlines like the rest of us.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  21. Art Suro

    The hypocrisy is obvious. Government interference with private industry is troubling. Both political parties are guilty of the hypocrisy. President Obama with tacit approval by both houses of Congress has interferred with private industry not seen since Roosevelt.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  22. Jane F. Garvey

    Heidi,

    Before weighing in on the new Gulfstream planes, I think we need to know someting about the condition of the existing aircraft. How much time is on those engines? How old are the planes? How airworthy? Clearly, we don't want to lose a bunch of Congressmen/women on a flight that involves official duty Ior any other flight) because the aircraft they're riding in doesn't pass muster. But also clearly we don't want to replace them if they're in good shape. And if they are replaced, what happens to the old ones?

    This is not comparable, in my view, to the business of overpaid/underperforming car company executives flying to D.C. to beg for bailouts. Bad analogy.

    J

    August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  23. Al Brace

    As usual, congress feels that they are better than the people who elected them. Not only do they not have to worry about health care, paying into Social Security or building a 401K, but they don't feel that they should have to put up the hassle of flying commercial. Especially when they have an unlimited budget to work with.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  24. Shirley H

    No way do I want them purchashing these planes ever, good times or bad. Fly the way we have to fly...Commercial!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  25. bob gare

    Government officials in this economy should be flying coach like the rest of us. Spending $200,000,000+ on 3 jets to fly them around. Then they only ordered 1 at $60,000,000+ but some one changed the number to 3.
    waist, waist , waist.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  26. Suzanne Hagen

    I think it is inexcusable and shows the hypocricy of Congressional members and the lack of consideration they have for the citizens they are supposed to represent. When so many Americans are out of work and are barely surviving in these hard times, this bill is like giving Americans "the raspberry".

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  27. Jimmy

    Is it possible that President Obama will not comment on this because he does not want to offend the Democratic congress for his Healthcare Legislation. One comment from him would cancel those two planes

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  28. John

    If the CEO's of the auto companies need to take commercial flights, why shouldn't Congress persons? I'm sure they think that there are security concerns, but most Congress persons are anonymous to most of us. I would know maybe a dozen of them if I saw them in an airport. This might be a blow to inflated egos, but the truth nonetheless.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  29. John K.

    I think it is a good idea for the Military to own a couple Gulfstream Jets. When Military Brass, Lawmakers & top officials need to get somewhere in the world, they aren't using big inefficient Military planes. Flying commercial has it's big disadvantages like Hostage situations and troublesome arrangements to get to parts of the world that are unfriendly to travelers.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  30. Bill Ahern

    This type of rediculous spending makes me wonder if our representatives are conscious. Absolutely absurd! They should all be embarrassed. Too arrogant to be embarrassed. Go ahead publish my e-mail address.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  31. Sandra Lovett

    I live in Illinois and my husband and I have 2 children in college. Our son is a senior at a university and our daughter attends a community college (which tuition is one fifth our son's tuition at the university). This year Illinois does not have the money to provide grants which has helped our son's tuition bill. We are in the same boat as thousands of people (taxpayers) all over the country. Here's an idea: If our government is so wealthy from all of the taxes that we pay it and can afford $200 million dollars on a few jets to fly just a few people, then why can't it make the same sacrifice that we make and decide to give that money to college grant programs instead of buying these luxurious jets.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  32. Dale

    I simply do not understand why the politicians are a different class, they should be required to get to work like the rest of us,
    They should not be given a silver spoon...

    Also, why do they have a different health plan. I'll bet if they were like the working people if this country they would already have a plan together rather than playing politicss.

    Dale
    Greenville,SC

    August 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  33. Steve Dallas, Texas

    They can't agree on Healthcare, They can't agree on the "cars" program yet they CAN agree on something that will benefit them. Personally, I don't care if they buy new jets. But I do think the bigshots that use these new toys should have to explain to the families that can't afford a house to live in or afford to put food on their table how vital these new planes are to the wellbeing of the country and its residents.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  34. Jane F. Garvey

    Heidi,

    Forgot this: How much more fuel efficient and noise abating are the new Gulfstreams? We need to know a lot more.

    J

    August 6, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  35. Mark Kramer

    Well this does not surprise me at all,it's business as usual. The good old boys have not changed at all.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  36. Jermiah

    I actually work for the Army which has a few of these Gulfstream Aircraft. A few of them are over 20 years old and are in need of replacement. As far as the talks about how Congress was about the auto executives in comared with themselves here is the thing. There is no commercial airlines that are secure enough to fly to countries such as Iraq, and Afgahnistan. Also these Jets are not only for Congress, but for our High ranking military leaders who for security reasons can not take commercial airline to certain places around the world.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  37. Laura Serrano

    It is outrageous that Congress has the time to vote to get new planes for themselves, but not enough time to vote on Health care for the citizens. It is time for them to get to work and stop wasting our money.
    Laura Serrano

    August 6, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  38. Larry Sturgeon

    Well, as usual the Federal Government doesn't practice what they preach, but, do as they wish. It's absolutely amazing and disgusting that tax payer dollars are so readily available for Federal toys, but, no appearance of any relief for the huge number of Americans that have lost their jobs and homes. I'm still asking myself daily as to where is the 780 billion dollar bailout money for jobs and etc. The job market is at a complete standstill and dead here in Florida.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  39. tony abboud

    Congrees don't need those extra jets and we need every tax dollar we can save, we keep wondering why are we falling more deeply in debt
    and they keep spending left and right. Americans need every bit of help to get out of the economic crisis we are in now, for example let them look into our war spendings and try to cut some of that and bring this money back to the people

    August 6, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  40. K

    No! This is a unneeded waste of taxpayer dollars. This money needs to be spent on something that can benifit our country and the people. Not for three luxury jets!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  41. Jasmyn

    I am out here busting my chops struggling to pay bills, still looking for a job, my unemployment is about to run out and Congress gets to still live in style and travel in style???
    HYPOCRITES!!!!!! All of that money can go to helping struggling single moms and dads and families about to go homeless!!! How dare they!!!!!!!!!!! That makes me sooooo angry!!!!!
    😦

    August 6, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  42. Corliss R. Wall

    TYPICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just gotta love 'em....or NOT! The airline industry is in trouble...why can't they fly with the rest of us? Hopefully you will report on who voted how!?!...or NOT! TYPICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  43. donnie

    Shame on congress, the economy is in great reccession and they're spending money on expensive planes? Where is the priorities at for the VIP's in the USA?

    August 6, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  44. Aaron K.

    As usual, there is bipartisan hypocrisy. I'd love to hear them justify why the Big 3 automakers CEOs gets lambasted for flying in on private jets and wasting taxpayers money, while it is justified for government officis and Congress to do just the same? I'm a strong Democrat and supported the stimulus, but definitely don't see how spending $200 million dollars on 3 private Gulfstream jets is exactly stimulating our economy. Gov't officials and Congress can fly 1st class on a commercial plane. Our airline industry could use the money and support, so the rest of us civilians can stop being robbed by them for airline tickets, fuel surcharges, and ridiculous baggage fees!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  45. Jarrett Shaver

    By purchasing these unrequested jets Congress is not only waisting money now but also ensuring future spending (the additional planes cost money to fuel them and to pay for the crew to fly them etc.) This is why China (and anyone else who is owed money in US currency) is worried about the future of the dollar, because current practices will drive the value of the greenback through the floor. We are witnessing the collaps of America.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  46. Eric from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    Heidi,
    Good Morning. I think its a travesty. It goes to show no matter who is in power, greed has no bounds. When this country was founded congressmen walked our streets and did the peoples business living normal and humble lives. They would travel commercially by car or air and as public servents one would not be able to tell one person from another. Their main job was to serve the people. Today they do the same but not attitudes have bred an era of entitlement. In my view they need to fly commercial like all of us and until they get back to basics of doing bi-partisan work and producing results they should have to ride the bad times like all of us. After all the economy is bad and we can get sensible legislation done because of their inability to work things out. Overgrown spoiled brats wanting toys we all cant afford.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  47. Jay

    There is nothing worse than a hypocrite; Do what I say but not what I do is the biggest problem with our government and why there is a backlash for the healthcare as well. Does our Government think they are better than the people that elected them? There can be no reason for Congress to have access to private jets when the commercial airline business is dying; this makes me sick. It is just a repeat of the backlash of the people in our goverment speaking out about the mass infidelity of our government officials; when they are doing the same thing.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  48. Not Surprised in VirginiaBeach

    Business as usual! Why can't these jerks take a regular commercial fight? Here's this for a suggestion. Make them pay for it out of their own pockets if they feel the need for such extravagance!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  49. Bernadette Loesch

    Dear Heidi, Why haven't we heard from those loud and vocal Republicans concerning the planes? Could it be that they engineered the purchase of these very same planes? I smell a rat!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  50. Charles Hamman

    What makes them special ??

    My first thought is "Get a rope!"

    It si all about double standards where their should not be any..

    August 6, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  51. Alan from Arizona

    Congress has always treated US citizens according to the old adage "Do as I say, not as I do". When the automakers showed up in their corporate jets, congress recognized the opportunity to try to impress their constituents with a false concern for the taxpayers. Now that deficit financial constraints have been loosed, congress hardly notices the bigotry involved by ordering pricey new jets for themselves. It is probably only thanks to the news media, that brought this to our attention, that the public has even been made aware of this current travesty. The public is helpless to affect any change in congressional behavior until election time and by then we have forgotten about past transgressions. Congress counts on that.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  52. Scott Stodden

    Heidi its a real shame when this do nothing Congress can pass bills to benefit themselves but they cant even do nothing for the good of the American people such as pass health care. Im so tired of this Congress not doing anything except wasting our taxpayer money and I know at election time Im not voting for any current sitting House or Senate members, we need a whole new Congress and Senate and then maybe things will get done but then again maybe not.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    August 6, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  53. Bonnie Brampton

    I would ask , how old are the jets that are being replaced . ? Is this a matter of age related replemment, or a matter of flying in the next best model.? Also why not extend the air time of the previous models with continued maintence as a part of a good fiscal policy, as most Americans extend the use of their own transportation as a cost effective measure, as a budjet saving choice.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  54. Dan Goodrow

    Is this part of a "cash for clunkers" deal? What was traded in that won't be used? Wouldn't better planning be able to offset the need to utilize immediate flights in expensive aircraft?
    Have top government officials considered military aircraft?
    Have they considered domestic travel by rail or the fuel efficient/eco-friendly automobiles that have been being promoted.

    I may not be a top government official, but I feel as head of a household and responsible to earn an income and maintain a balanced budget, I have plenty of necessary work to do and places to go, but Ican't afford another vehicle payment right now without creating a significant deficit in the family finances, so I use vehicles based on where I'm going and what I'm doing and their efficiency, or I just don't go and find a way to get the job done in another way.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  55. snider

    Priorities are bad for the US as of now. We spend 125 million on planes for VIP's we give atheletes millions for sports why not give it to who needs it? I.e military, nurses, teachers people who help make a difference

    August 6, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  56. Steve, Texas

    Heidi

    New Jets ?? Hundreds of millions of dollars?? What makes congress members so special that they can't fly on commercial airlines like the rest of us?
    A top of the line Gulfstream and a run of the mill Boeing 737 all land at the same airports right?

    SC

    August 6, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  57. Jarrett Shaver

    John K, that is the worst excuse I've ever heard. How you can rationalize the waist of millions of dollars is beyond me. Although, with such a huge buget surplus and no national debt to speak of I guess Congress deserves the odd luxury. Terrible.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  58. Lewis Kana

    I understand the need for security for our elected officials, but I fail to see any justification for spending so much money for so little value.

    Also, this country does not have to impress anybody. We are the most highly thought of country, ever.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  59. Ed B.

    I find it interesting that our politician criticize others while doing the same thing. Correcting this situation was the change we voted for last November. You have to be suspicious when they place themselves above the American public and then exempt themselves from the healthcare reform that is supposed to be so great.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  60. Vic Rosa

    Hey Heidi, Just create a new segment called: "Screwed Again!" for stories like this!!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  61. Jack Cole

    Seems to me that they have no idea of what the public thinks, or at least they care less.. This is outrageous..
    Could this be part of the stimulus package? I dought it?
    It's just more tax to be paid by our children.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  62. Lilly Abner

    Seriously, um.... is anybody going to let the rest of them know we are being robbed? Who is looking out for the people? I think we are all starting to get sick of this bag being re-branded, but there is not going to be anything left before people "get it".

    August 6, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  63. Sam WIlliamson

    I am not at all surprised by anything this congress does. It is beyond any level of trust Americans might have had in elected leaders this year. What a disgusting change!

    August 6, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  64. Brian J. Coons

    Heidi,

    Someone should contact Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York) to see how he feels now, about his famous quote to the Big 3 auto executives; "It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in a high hat and tuxedo."

    Brian J. Coons
    Unionville, PA

    August 6, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  65. Art

    This is a bad decision. The Air Force has sufficient planes that can meet their needs. They don't need to travel in luxury..

    August 6, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  66. raul barbosa

    I personaly think that with the economical problems that we are having in this country. instead of spending all those millions of dollars on lear jets why don't they go and bye a bunch of hybrid cars that way they help out automobile companys and at the same time give jobs to people to drive them around and it will be less that a 1/4 of the cost for 3 jets

    August 6, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  67. joy

    It's about time to vote these politicians out of office!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  68. M. Coffey

    While I know very little about building jet planes and their cost, I do not want to jeopardize our military's ability to keep our country safe. On a personal level, I know that Government subcontractors do operate with a lot of fluff and over expenditures when it comes to billing the Federal Government for hours, hours and more hours that sometimes could be avoided. It also depends on the type of contract that is given to the contractor. If it is time and material the planes could eventually cost much more than originally bid.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  69. G Shanahan

    Were we not on this same page months ago with Automobile CEOs being drilled (rightfully so) for using expensive private jets by the same Congress. What is different this time about taxpayers money being spent; but, THIS time from the mouthpiece?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  70. Jenny Wilson

    Congress will always do what Congress wants to do...if they REALLY need these planes that is one thing...otherwise, they need to STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY ALSO! I only hope that their salaries are FROZEN FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS. They get paid too much as well as have perks worth thousands...When they can all get together and really GET SOMETHING USEFUL done – then they deserve a
    raise.

    Thanks.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  71. Amos Poon

    please find out who is the congress men or women avocate this "secret deal"? – voters should know.

    For 2T deficite – what is $220M – I lost count of the value of money.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  72. G Shanahan

    "Do as I say, Not as I do" on a banner should hang outside of the Senate and House buildings in Washington.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  73. Frank

    Drives me mad to hear about this. I thought they were trying to pull us out of debt not waste our money on things that we don't need. If they can aprrove the funding for this why can't they find the funding to allow my tribe to have their rights as other tribes?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  74. Dan

    This is ridiculous. When Americans are struggling to buy healthcare and food, they buy new jets? What a bunch of crooks.
    Take civilian air carriers and set in the economy section, like everyone else.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  75. Barbara J. Bauman

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO , ETC!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  76. Cassie Wilson

    Congress just doesn't get it. It's not their money. I haven't found a job or income in over 3 years. How about a job.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  77. Binoy

    Buy the Pentagon the jets requested if needed, but not more.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  78. Capt. Max

    I am infuriated at Congress for criminalizing corporate aviation in the first place. They chastised companies for having these very necessary business tools. I too have been affected by the fallout, seeing my flight department shut down. Now for them to go out and buy three new G-550's with our money and expect it not to cause an uproar? What it really boils down to, is the days of companies giving free rides to members of Congress and the Senate are over.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  79. Marsha Hephner

    I think the congress should stick to the Defense Dept request. Now if they want to OK more than that, it's OK with me as soon as they quit screaming about the cost of health care reform. Why is it that money spent on them is acceptable to them and money to be spent on us is just to expensive.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  80. Chad

    This is another example of an out of control congress. In these economic times, congress should be trying to trim expenses. If congress is really concerned about Health Care they should cut expenses to help fund this crucial item.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  81. Carla Thomey

    The american people are tired of reckless spending by congress. We would like to travel in luxury, but many of us travel coach where there are no frills, not even a meal. We are paying for the pentagon to travel in a jet? Why can't they go coach like everyone else and bring their own lunch!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  82. Bert Vergara

    At what point does Congress know that we have an economic recession. America is tired of your negligence. Here you bash the CEOs for their lavish lifetyles and you are doing the same. Shame on you.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  83. natalie Palencia

    I thought we where still paying back china? I didn't think we had 200 million to blow. If i didn't pay for my house and just bought a new car I am pretty sure i would lose my home. I guess that dosen't apply to the goverment officals.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  84. Sophia

    I think, given the current economical condition of this country, this is a bad decision and apparently little or no thought was given. As usual, tax payers are getting the short end of the stick. I was hoping the new Administration would have more governance over these types of decisions; but it is evident that this is not the case. We have neighbors who are losing their homes; however, the government decides to send millions on aircraft as a luxury. What is wrong with this country? Where is the common sense? Where is the Presidential governance?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  85. Josh

    This spending is ridiculous! Obama says that the one problem with the healthcare reform plan is the extra funding needed. With the jets beign paid for by taxpayers could be the funding for the reform! There is no reason why they can't fly business class like the rest of the Americans.

    There is also a problem whenever the Pentagon also asks for 3 jets and congress gives them 5! That's even MORE funding that could be used for the healthcare reform!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  86. john

    I'm sure that the legislators who added these additional jets to the DOD's request are receiving significant contributions from the jet manufacturer. It's unfortunate that our current political system encourages policies and budgets to be shaped by the biggest campaign contributers.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  87. Berry Hinds

    Let's see, the Air Force used the "Tweet" for 50 years to train pilots, the B-52 is still flying and Congress wants three new Gulfstream jets. Why wouldn't we just refurbish the ones in the fleet instead of adding new ones.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  88. Katrina

    I honestly wish we could do away with most of the politicians in D.C. They do not represent their constituents! I would like to see them live off of my paycheck and create budgets the way that I do. They live on a different planet!!

    Political parties aside, we as Americans need to clean house! I am tired of only getting the bits and pieces that Congressional members want me to hear.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  89. Benny

    Nothing should surprise us with this tax and spend congress.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  90. Mae Nastally

    Seems like Congress can't live like ordinary people, on a budget that is, but they want us to give up more and more. Well there is an answer to this spending. Keep all their names and how they voted and when their term is up :vote em out". That's the only language they understand.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  91. Tom

    According to your report, 20% of these jets usage is by members of Congress. What about the other 80%? Would that be general officers flying around to critical defense locations like military academy football games? When are you going to take the Department of Defense off of the pedestal you have placed them on and ask some probing questions?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  92. Paul Browning

    If the president can spend money with no regard, they why can't politians. The politians doesn't care that it puts a bigger burden on the military to maintain the aircraft. As long as they have something shiny to fly around with is all they care about.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  93. Richard McKnight

    They really do not get it do they. They live in a make believe world. All who vote for this should be replaced. Same with health care ALL about them.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  94. Ines

    Hello Heidi,
    I think it is outlandish for Congress to spend money for themselves without taxpayer approval.
    That goes for their pay raises as well, all that should be approved via voters, these people keep forgetting they work for US not the other way around.
    Have you ever given yourself a pay raise?
    Amendment 27 needs to be changed to a requirement to be voted on by the people.
    Thanks,
    Ines in Colorado

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  95. Janis Moriarty

    Step up Americans and take charge. Find out which of your representatives voted for this and DO NOT vote them back into office. Be sure and call/write them to tell them that they no longer have your vote. It's up to us.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  96. Bob

    Congress is always railing about the deficit, but when it comes to something that benefits them, no problem. If the Defense Department does not ask for it Congress should not appropriate for it.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  97. Raymond

    It is wasteful to say the least. Lawmakers seem to forget all about the common man perspective when they order these planes like they are toys. They order more than even the Pentagon requests they are only serving their own egos Then they want to haggle over health care when even countries like Costa Rica can provide health care to its citizens. It makes most of their debates disingenuous. I wonder where the blue dog Democrats are on this issue.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  98. Jeff

    This is exactly the kind of physcial irresponsibility that put America into its current situaltion.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  99. Jacqueline Corbett

    Extra $$ for more jets than asked for okay? Universal health care, nay? Our politicians need to get their priorities straight... and get a dose of reality! Like losing their taxpayer-funded health insurance for one so they can find out what it costs get it on their own, pre-existing conditions and all.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  100. Rich in Phoenix

    I don't understand why everyone is so upset with this purchase. It is just Congress being Congress, nothing new they are just doing whatever they want to do as they always do.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  101. Rick Savage

    The Gulfstream G-550 is a superb airplane-nicest jet I've ever flown. But 200 million dollars for three airplanes is too much dough. The federal government could buy low time used G-550's for penny's on the dollar. And yes I do believe our elected officials could fly Southwest. As taxpayers we have no obligation to treat them like royality! Rick

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  102. David Lowery

    on the planes. I won't say no, I say HELL NO !!!! People this economy isn't going to get better if oil gets 100.00 a barrel which is what they are going too , they want 200.00 a barrel, now at 71.00 just wait,

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  103. Ryan Curry

    Last I heard Congressmen and other elected officials were public servants. Why are they living and traveling like kings? Put them in coach with the "real people" they say they love so much.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  104. Lydia, Pittsburgh

    This just shows that Congress considers itself an aristocracy instead of a public servants. They think we the taxpayers are either so apathetic or unintelligent as to not be able to recognize what they're doing. Thank God for watchdogs who monitor their actions daily on our behalf.

    I just wish that these comments went to Congress so they can see what their constituents think.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  105. Gary

    I think its time our elected officials began to act more responsibly than that. We have entrusted them to do our bidding not feather their own nests.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  106. Cheza'Rae

    If we have to pay for them to fly high in style, we better get rides..............
    we pay for other who have heafty bank accounts already, but millions of people are out of work.. That sick....

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  107. Teachme

    Hypocrisy + Pharisees = Congress – Pelosi

    August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  108. C. Young

    It doesnt surprise me that they would do this. Is it time for Congress to give themselves a raise yet? This is ridiculous. I should get my taxes back so I can afford my mortage, or how about just my everyday living expenses. I definitely vote no on this. What is the President going to do about this ridiculous investment? talk about getting screwed again.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  109. William

    There is nothing so pressing that members of congress can't take commercial aircraft. $132 million can feed and house lot of homeless AMERICAN'S........................

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  110. Gerry

    Acronym for Politics
    Paying
    Off
    Lobbyists
    Is
    The
    Insane
    Congressional
    Standard
    Politicians do no hear nor listen to the people,they owe their souls to lobbyists.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  111. C.. Dawkins

    That $200 Million for those three (3) new jets should added to a "Stimulus-Mortgage" program for "cash strapped" home owners!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  112. Andy

    The 2 most corrupt section American society; Congress and the Insurance industry. I spent 22 years in the U.S Air Force working in the Budget and Finance field. Buying Lear Aircraft is typical congressional abuse proving they are not working for the American people but for themselves. Congress has the most lucrative retirement system in the world. They are the richest of American society and believe these perks are owed to them. It's time congress was held to the same standard as the rest of the American people. Buying jets as a tail on a DoD bill is pure and simple abuse and misuse of American Taxpayers dollars. How many years of health care would the funding of those jets paid for? This is absolutely Outrageous!!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  113. David Entler

    Congress needs to focus on balancing the budget and eliminating the federal deficit. Our long-term prosperity depends on it. This is a step in the wrong direction. The numbers may be small compared to what we have seen this past year in terms of spending – but it is a matter of principle. Congress need to say no to these jets!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  114. John Krystyniak

    Having been involved in avaition for over 40 years, I feel that the public needs to understand that this Present Proposal for three Gulfstream Jets for the US Government is totally a waste of taxpayer funds. First, they have chosen the most expensive American made business jet to purchase with a manufacturing base in Savannah, GA. Second, with the slow economy, there are a lot of used business jets for sale. Before scoffing at his idea, please be aware that all aircraft have detailed documents of flight, maintenance history along with extensive pre-purchase research and review prior to a sale of the jet. Why doesn't the US Government consider this path, instead of always asking for new, inflated bids since it is a "government project"? For the amount of hours flown, this would be a very ecenonical method to get the most value for the expended taxpayer funded dollars. Also, it sets an example of "recycling" within our own government. These types of jets have detailed records of what is in the aircraft, along with flight hours flown, number of landings, prepaid maintenance on the engines, etc.
    For a more economical new aircraft, the Citation X, built in Kansas has excellent range, economy for flights within the Western Hemisphere. We should keep our tax dollars for government spending, here, in our homeland, and not sent to foreign business entities.
    It is interesting that the govenment wants us to move to smaller, fuel efficient vehicles on land, sea and air; yet the Government, through the House of Representatives aka "The Polosi Wing", no pun intented, wants the most expensive units for their somewhat personal transportation.
    Today, I am stting in western USA and am witnessing one person being transported, in a government Lear Jet, in which their are two required pilots, and tow other military uniformed flight crew members(???) accompanying him. The passenger looks like a contract worker and he is dressed in blue jeans, a polo shirt and running shoes. What is going on here??? Why doesn't he just catch an airliner, like the rest of us, and it is available at the airport he is being transported from ????
    I give this country about five to ten years and then it is going to implode due to the Governmental Waste and Pork Programs, along with the Entitlement Packages given to those who don't produce and contribute to this country's economic base.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  115. Rose

    This is just an example of their usual greed and unconcern about the American people–doing what is good for them and not the people.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  116. Colleen in Omaha

    Outrageous.

    How do we, as United States citizens, change the behavior of Congress besides voting out all incumbents each election?

    I would like to know how we can vote on anything Congress wants to approve for themselves. There is one major drawback. Congress writes the laws.

    Please forward this to everyone you know. After you forward, number and sign your name at the bottom.

    If yours is the 1000th signature,do the following:

    – Go to each of the below web sites.
    – Go to the "Contact Us" section.
    – Copy and paste the letter and signatures, and send.

    Then Continue to forward this email.

    http://www.speaker.gov
    http://www.reid.senate.gov
    http://www.whitehouse.gov

    To all in the Congress and Senate,

    You have all forgotten something very important. We elect you. We are your bosses. We pay your salaries, as they come out of the taxes we pay. If you wish to continue serving the people,

    We the people demand that the following are included in health care reform:

    Each and every Senator and Congressman receive an allowance of $500.00 per month towards the purchase of a health care through the insurance carrier of their choice, including the national health care plan.

    This amount is not to be raised without the approval of the people of the United States.

    From this day forward, since we are your employers, you can no longer give yourselves yearly raises at your own discretion. Raises for the Senate and Congress are to be approved by the people of the United States of America.

    Any luxuries provided for the use of the Congress or Senate members will be voted for or against by the people of the United States of America.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  117. Rick Gabler

    Not only should the planes not be bought, but Congressional delegations should have to fly coach. Then maybe they would pass legislation to give the rest of us more legroom and comfort on flights.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  118. Raihaan

    They need new planes to get around the world. The old ones use too much gas. So why not buy new ones and put it on the taxpayers tab? What's another 200 million dollars for new planes, when they are paying even more for banks and auto-manufacturers.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  119. Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Vet

    Heidi, Those planes should be used for the care of our wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from our War in the Middle East not for shuttling around our politicians!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  120. David Stevens

    Heidi,

    Regarding the "Jet Bonanza"... lets start by having the American tax payers converting all of congressmen and senators over to a standard HMO medical plan for the time being. Until the "health care" issue finally gets all sorted out FOR REAL!

    "Cash For Clunkers" is one of the most sensible working thing congress has ever done! Keep it up until the Elkart Indiana is making and selling RV's again.

    As far as the "extra Jets" are concerned, either send them as a gift to "Ben Laudin" (that will wierd him out good) or send them as a "nice parting thank you gift" to North Korea...

    Our Congressmen can start Flying Jet Blue or South West and maybe give them two bags of peanuts each.

    Just Another Tax Payer,

    Dave S
    Jamestown New York

    August 6, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  121. R.L. Mullins

    Why am I not surprised? Congress has become so removed from the real world and real dollar amounts that throwing on a few extra jets and a few hundred million $ over and above what was requested is the norm. Remember the old days when they actually tried to cut back on spending requests?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  122. Renae

    I THINK IT IS SHAMEFUL They can fly on commercial plans just like the rest of us.
    By them buying these planes , it not only cost us tax payers millions, it cost millions in FUEL, millions in REPAIRS, millions to STAFF ect............ Millions more in taxes so they can fly in luxury. WHO THOUGHT this one out.
    Whats wrong with them........NO whats wrong with all of us for not emailing or writting or representatives and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

    I like the idea about why dont they buy Hybrid cars and help out the auto industry, if they buy these planes it will hurt the commercial industry and guess what we will not only have higher taxes BUT
    the commercial airlines will have to raise their prices because they just lost all that business, more flight controllers (because more planes in the air) More run ways????? These are things to think of before rushing into something.
    I thought we were trying to SAVE on fuel not add more consumption.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  123. Brian Corkery

    No they should not.

    The government has a genuine need for travel. But what would these jets do when they are not flying VIP's? They would sit still. No airline ever survived by having aircraft sitting around.
    Buying a few jets is one thing, maintenance, crew training, insurance are other costs not being considered by Congress.
    The government now uses Netjets for certain transportation needs because it is very much more cost effective than owning their own jet. The Congress should use Netjets, though expensive, it is far cheaper and more effecient than owning their own fleet and ALL the costs are known in advance, a real cost picture is what the American people need and can relate to.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  124. Les Brown

    I am appalled at this expenditure. The Pentagon should get what it needs and wants if shown justified. Congressmen and Senators should fly commercial, drive or pay their own way on private planes. A total evaluation of all of their expenditures should be made and the fat should be cut. Send them the same message they sent the auto makers.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  125. Melissa

    Quote from V. Richard Miller
    Perfectly stated.....

    During the last presidential campaign we were constantly reminded that this is now a global economy requiring global strategies and responses to problems and opportunities. Yet those same politicians recently referred to private jets, jet charter, corporate jets, personal jets, jet ownership, private jet travel…call it what you want, they referred to the use of business jets as a luxury for the rich and famous, an unconscionable waste of money by “corporate fat cats” in times of financial duress.

    We all recognize the limitations of ground transportation and public conveyance for completing time-critical missions. We know that the only denominator common to all is “TIME”. Time is the one thing no one can afford to waste, the one thing that cannot be recovered once lost, and the one thing that levels the playing field among competitors.

    Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, no more, no less. “Carpe diem” boils down to “use ‘em or lose ‘em.” No one thinks of cars, buses or trains for quick response to global situations. And the airlines offer less reliability than the time machine I built from Dad’s old lumber in our garage when I was a kid.

    If a foreign competitor in his jet beats you in your car to the potential client, or a domestic rival flies straight to a strategic summit and locks in a deal while you are still enroute on the bus or train, who made the best use of those 24 hours? If your competition arrives at the local airport by chartered jet in the morning while you are stuck at the terminal baggage claim 50 miles away, who gets the business? Who really “carpe’d” the “diem”? Will our government reimburse you for the opportunity lost by taking their advice on how to travel?

    Corporate jets are not a luxury for “fat cats”. They are a necessity for the prudent. Fax machines for bodies and briefcases. The only luxury you cannot afford is letting the competition have the luxury of beating you to the business. If time is money, then being frugal with your time is being frugal with your money!

    Airlines build around a model of taking you from somewhere “sorta” near point A to somewhere “kinda” near point B in the “better part” of a day. Maybe your luggage makes it, maybe not. Maybe it’s damaged, maybe not. However, private air charter is built around the model you really want: Going from exactly point A to B to C to D…then back to exactly point A again in one day, with quality time and flexibility at each point, your bags with you. You go exactly WHERE you need to go, WHEN you need to go. YOU are in control.

    The airlines serve around 1,500 cities nationwide; the charter industry serves 6,000 cities. Suppose your travelling party of three or four, at the last minute, becomes six or seven…or more? Can the airlines make the change and keep you all together? Can the airlines give you privacy for discussion as you travel? WE can do ALL of that! Private air charter lets you concentrate on BEING there rather than GETTING there!

    Public conveyance is ill suited for the demands of leadership. That’s why our political leaders avoid it. Yet, our BUSINESS leaders are the ones who chart the course of our country’s destiny. Their time is our future. It’s that simple. They have become Number One by managing face-to-face, by creating business relationships face-to-face, by delivering on their promises face-to-face, even in this global environment.

    Private corporate air transportation: An American institution pioneered by aviators and innovators devoted to American business, a long-standing tradition of excellence and reliability…around the globe.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  126. Robert

    As much as it is hard to see the price tag for these planes knowing that tax payers are the buyers, I do have to agree with the perches. Gulfstream jets are the top of the line for private air travel, not necessarily for the luxuries that is provided but mostly for the technology that they have that no other private aircraft company possesses because of their former ties with the U.S. government. Gulfstream jets are able to fly higher and faster than other private plains. Therefore these plains provide a necessary security service for who it transports in our government that no other company can provide. If we really need to be buying new planes it should be Gulfstreams.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  127. Kelvin Pinkney

    This is the very reason why AMERICANS are not trusting the government. We are in a time when our government should be in caution mode with monies. Overall it's about the country not indiviuals.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  128. Bill T

    Whats New? We can't afford to reform Healthcare but we can spend $200 million for new aircraft for congress, business as usual in Washington. Put that money to Healthcare reform and give Americans what they want and deserve. How many Republicans voted NO for this expenditure?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  129. Rama Huie

    It is absolutely ridiculous for Congress to add extra planes to what the
    Pentagon has requested. Congress needs to cut back on this kind of
    spending to set a good example for the rest of us. The Congress is
    sending a message to the rest of the world that they can do what they
    want. It makes them fall into the same catagory as the company CO's
    that get huge bonuses even when the company has lost so much
    money that they have to rely upon the stimulus to stay in business. Our message to these congressmen and women should be to send
    them home after the next election.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  130. Joseph Williams

    The GOP is concern with the budget and John McCain was even concern about the helos for the president I wonder what he is saying about the planes for congress.
    I am from LA and the least local election I voted GOP for the first time in my life. After watching they did with Bush and what they are doing now I have to agree they are the part of NO.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  131. laurie

    I think it is CRIMINAL !!!!
    Who do these people think they are? They are spending money
    faster than we (the American people) can make it.
    Congress is behaving like spoiled children. They just want to keep taking more and more from the American people, when we don't have it to give. They were elected into office to serve the American people, to help make America the best place on earth to live.
    Someone has to reel this congress in. They have all lost their minds.
    I think its time for another election and vote them all out of office.

    Laurie
    American Citizen

    August 6, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  132. John Krystyniak

    Sorry for the couple of misspellings in my previous comment, I was just so worked up over the Waste and Pork within our Government.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  133. TC Hartwell

    It never fails that our U.S.Congres can complain that the CEO's of the auto Industries came to congress hearings in "Private Jet's", but then they want to purchase private jets for our elected offical's to travel on
    taxpayers money..Humm! The federal officals need to "Down Side" and show this country that they set an "Example" of what over, over, spending or using "Taxpayers" bailout money for personal use..That's
    why we have "Commerical Airlines"...The idea is to conserved the spending and not abused the system..The money that these elected
    officals are wanting to purchase the "Private Jet's" could benefit the military for better equipment for our U.S. troops fighting in Iraq & affganistan! It don't take a genious to use what we call "Common Sense"!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  134. Barbara Chapman

    Members of Congress are normal people elected by us to do a JOB. Unfortunately when they get into those positions they take a very different stance thinking that they deserve the finer things of life and are there for the taking. They should NOT be riding on special jets for junkets here and there. They should be going commercial and if they want to go first class they should pay the extra money out of their own pockets. Where is all this money that is being spent during the first 200 days of the Obama administration coming from? Congress needs to stop thinking of themselves as special people requiring special privileges and remembering who put them in office and how they can be put out of office.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  135. Noel

    These jets are unnecessary. These politicians can use commercial airlines themselves to cut costs. This is an outright fleecing of America in disguise of security reasons.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  136. Jimmy Leo

    Another stupid move by our government , it needs money for health care, SS etc. yet it spends billions on theirselves or some foreign country that hates. Let them stay in washington and work for the people like they are suppose to not fly all over the country .

    August 6, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  137. William

    Hey...Mr, Barack has taken over the banking industry, the automotive industry, health care...............why not take over airline industry too??? This way congress and their cushy jobs can fly anywhere by anything?

    Who cares about the little slobs down here scrping around for another meal and a roof over our head?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  138. John Krystyniak

    Also, with Lou Dobbs being a pilot, he is very appropriate to pick up this story and explain the corporate aircraft industry, along with documentation of equipment, use and maintenance requirements fo corporate style aircraft. it would be a good story to research, as Lou being the moderator, to take the US Taxpayer through the General Aviation System. Might be just the type of story to air on CNN in late October prior to the Election Season.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  139. Andrea Scott

    Congress needs to walk the talk – they need to live by the same rules that we live by not be above the rules. They have been really become good at pointing the finger at everyone else then turning around and doing the same exact thing . And congressional hearings, what a joke and waste of tax payer money – nothing ever comes out of them, no action or law to change anything.
    Where would congress be if we all lived like they did – Well they would not have this easy job that gives them half the year in paid vacations, medical benifits that we all would die for, and a retirement plan that is unbelieveabled even if you only are in congress for one term. If we lived by following their example there would be no money to pay for the government – it would all be spent and all of us would be filing bank ruptsy.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  140. Knox

    Heidi, it seems Congress has once again elevated themselves above those that have empowered them, inconceivable pompousness! Imagine a formal inquisition by non-politicians to investigate Congressional spending? Unfortunately, this is as unrealistic as a parsimonious politician. When does this downward spiral end?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  141. Robin O'Donnell

    Why is it that everyone jumps to condemn this? The planes are not strictly for congressional use, in fact they are for military and international leaders to use 80 percent of the time. Congress would get a backseat to them.

    To those who suggest that our leaders should be flying in coach, do you really want your leaders flying in a unsecured commercial aircraft? Federal agents can routinely get illegal substances past security. Personally, I don't think that we should be putting our leaders and government in harm's way.

    I fly these sort of aircraft for a living, and I know that these aircraft not only are safer than commercial, but unlike commercial, they are not subject to the constant delays that burden commercial flying. These constant delays would grind congress to a halt. Finally, has anyone every thought about all the jobs private jets create? The general public has no idea. There's thousands of manufacturing jobs (Gulfstreams are MADE IN AMERICA!). There's thousands of mechanics nationwide. There's all the pilots. There's all the ground personnel at airports. There's all the air traffic controllers. And the list goes on....

    Before people shout their opinions they should get educated on a subject first.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  142. Dahlia

    When Congress buys airplanes it puts people to work. If companies like Gulfstream do not sell expensive products they will lay off employess and so will their suppliers.
    We need to be careful how we crticize expenditures, eg when companies go to Las Vegas for conventions and meetings because if the companies pull back, everyday Americans suffer.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  143. William

    Hey...

    Maybe Mr. Obama can take over the National Association of Realtors too. This way he can give homes to all his friends, and evict us out of ours.
    This nation has a serious problem with our government. Something needs to be done. We need to be heard..........

    August 6, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  144. Cheryl

    How can we stop this?????
    Very upsetting, as the Pentagon didn't even order 3 jets, yet Congress (who will be using the jets) decides to spend our $$'s for them?
    And, one wonders why the public is Angry?
    How to turn this Anger into Action?
    Enough emails/letters to Congress, need more than that, they are Not Listening!
    How can we stop this??????

    August 6, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  145. David

    Good morning Heidi,

    It was a tongue lashing to say the least. I thought Congress came down way to hard on the big three execs in the first place. That makes it hard to consider this appropriation in it's proper context, probably a needed purchase. It's fair to ask where are members of congress going on those Gulfstream jets?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  146. Nick

    Are you "Kidding", I think congress should put "THEIR" money where "THEIR" mouth is, And I mean"THEIRS". If they spend "THEIR" money on commereial flights travel would decline,cost would decline and the tax payers "deep" pockets would benefit.I also think congress should pay for their own Health Care .

    August 6, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  147. Les Brown

    re: Robert's comment.
    If all businesses operated on the same playing field and did not use those expensive jets, the public's costs for goods and services would be lower. Greed drives their acts. Grab the money before your competetion does, to hell with those of us who buy products and services.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  148. Tim

    When I saw this report "air" on tv and the web site published, I wanted to comment. Obviously I agree! They do these kind of things because they know they can. If a way does not already exist, maybe the constitution should be amended to "fire" the people that do or vote for this kind of crap. We are a country "of the people, for the people, by the people".... aren't we?

    August 6, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  149. Emily Cole

    This is astonishing – when our states are cutting teacher's jobs, and funding for education programs, why isn't the government trying to help this area of need instead of fluffing their own cushions! I can't even afford a trip in a budget airline, and these folks that help run our country think it's appropriate for them to flaunt their position by jet-setting across the US? I'm just appalled!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  150. TC Hartwell

    Now! People,How many years have the President's of past and present promised to have better "Health Care" for all the people
    who can't afford "Health, Medical, & Drug Prescription" At least 40
    years and I believed that I'll be dead by the time the federal Gov't get they're act together..Just like my S.S.I where in short time they want to
    drop S.S.I. or S.S. down the road. Congress should be concern about
    not buying "Private Jet's" and concentrate on giving the people better
    "Health Care Benefits" cause you can't replace one's "Life" over the
    need to travel "Confortable & in Luxury" while people are in serious
    need for better "Health & Medical" needs Now!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  151. Dane

    Buying G550s to!! An ultra-long range biz jet that can connect any 2 points in the world with only 1 fuel stop, yet most of their flights will probably be to holiday homes in the Hamptons.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  152. Kerry

    Are you kidding me? What a bunch of hypocrites!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  153. John Colson

    And we wonder why the Health Care Bill can't get passed. The concern for the citizens and country appears to be a backseat issue. Just remember we can vote them out in a few years, and should!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  154. charlotte smith

    What are we teaching our youth. Would we tell them they need to cut back on school clothes and lunch money while negotiating for a new Mercedes convertible. We thought we were going to get an administration that was going to curb big spending. very sad

    August 6, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  155. Terrie

    I would just like to say that 40,000 children die every day from unsafe drininking water all over the world, and this includes America. And we are spending tax payers dollars on three jets and five other planes.....I am sure that congress needs safe air travel however this is all so outrageous.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  156. Joe

    I don't know why CNN is asking people for their news. In the last hour how much news has CNN covered? Can CNN look at its own report card and see what people are grading them the 'media'? And the mass is no better in assessing news and provide analysis. So quit reading facebook/twitter comment as they are new and are from someone who has a clue of what they are talking about. If you don't know how to fill up the hour with news, perhaps cover some international and regional news. Can't wait to get BBC.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  157. janet

    This could be another area that congress can find money for healthcare for the many instead of airplanes for the few

    August 6, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  158. Mary

    I assume this means that they are not only ready to pass a healthcare bill with a strong public option similar to their own health insurance, but have also determined how to pay for it.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  159. Dottie - Kernersville NC

    NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Members of congress should not be ordering new or replacement jet planes. They should be cutting back and tightening their belt just like everyone else with any common sense should be doing. They should also agree to receive the same "new" healthcare plan they are wanting all citizens to use!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  160. Thomas L. McCary

    It's the luxury & ongoing expense that I have a problem with. I can understand the need for security & logistics. Would not a Cessna or a Piper suffice & be much more economical to operate & maintain. Time for congress to trade in their gas guzzling clunkers too.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  161. Pam

    The timing is bad. Americans are cutting back, not just on luxury items but also on necessities. Instead of jumping in my car and going shopping, I'm sitting in my dark 80-degree house e-mailing CNN, keeping a close eye on what my elected Congress is doing.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  162. Will

    It cracks me up honestly, but I'm hardly surprised, that American politicians are wasting money like it's going out of style. I mean that is the new thing right? Spend, spend, spend...and worry about it later. And don't even get me STARTED on the hypocracy with the auto industry bailouts!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  163. Carole

    You need to research the age, condition & flight hours of the jets that are being replaced before you slam congress for buying new ones. There are situations where an aircraft is so old & has so many flight hours that it is more cost effective to buy a new one than it would be to bring the old one tol air worthy status.

    August 6, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  164. JANE WAUGHTAL

    Heidi, I do thank CNN, you and Lou Dobbs for keeping the public informed of what is going on in Washington, DC. This newest outrage of our elected officials overdoing another "perk" for themselves (which includes raises by the way), is worse than most of the others, although it would be difficult to rate them as 1,2,3. I want our elected officials/representatives to know I disagree with this proposed expenditure. They will pass it anyway, because they don't care what I or others, who disagree with their agenda, believe. We are ALL tightening our belts religiously these days, and our government, again which is elected just spends more $$ on what they think is best for themselves and the country, and they don't listen to their constituents. ARE THEY DEAF? They must be, because we are all emailing you, and yet they deny that we are speaking for ourselves. Argh!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  165. Tom Francisco

    Congress could buy less expensive jet like a Cessna, and Cessna jet is an American jet company. + do they need a jet that large for 1 to 6 people.
    It is easy to spend MONEY that is not yours .

    August 6, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  166. Jeffrey C. Bahls

    This is riduculous, The jets they have now are already 'decked out' might be outdated but I'll bet they are more luxurious than 1st class passengers on a commercial airline of today. Aside from security considerations, if congress used the justification of CEO's flying in, from bankrupt corporations as indicators of poor judgement. Are they not now doing the exact same thing? I have been out of work since February, the longest I have ever been out of work. Yet it seems I can make better choices then these big time executives and congressmen who dont care about us. There is a old saying, 'dont muzzle the donkey on the grindstone' or 'dont bite the hand that feeds you'. Its frustrating to see everyone I know hurting because we dont make close to the 'middle class' tax breaks yet we get to pay for it off of our backs. I feel we went back 200 years, taxation without representation, because this government is taxing on their own no matter how they try to disquise it.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  167. Bob

    Hello Heidi,

    As a US service member (US Army) I find it appalling that Congress is giving away superfluous, multi-million dollar aircraft for pleasure flights (think Air Pelosi) while there are lower ranking service members collecting food stamps.

    Also the military has suspended re-enlistment bonuses because “supposedly” the DoD is out of money????

    August 6, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  168. aj

    now we know why they raise taxes. not because they have to but just because they can.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  169. Roger

    The Aviation business has been decimated by this recession and the continued assault by the media and certain politicians. Thousands of people have lost their jobs in repeated layoffs at Gulfstream, Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna, etc... as a direct result of these misguided attacks on corporate aviation.

    I bet the workers at Gulfstream and Boeing appreciate these expenditures . Maybe these jets should be seen as stimulus rather than waste.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  170. Daniel D

    I am an Airman in the US Air Force. I have bin to Iraq and other places. More and more I have seen that the government is willing to throw money at fixing things when they don't think a bought what is cost effective. For example the old Hummer's that are poor on armor, shot up, and have poor or no air conditioning were replaced with the new MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) is a bad idea because of the area and terrain they have to be driven in. The MRAPs are great vehicles for urban areas with paved roads and lots of space to move around. They are just too big and heavy for ANY off road situations at all, witch is limiting where we can go and what we can do by 50% right off the bat. So my question is: Is this really cost effective? Could they ask the troops that are out there on a daily basis what they need and what would help them the most? More and more the government is spending money to fix things that could be fixed better and last longer if they didn't use 20 20 hind site. (Sit in there office in DC and guess what is best.) They should not be in government to enjoy there fancy offices and be chauffeured around having spending untold amounts of tax payers dollars needlessly. Taxes should be used to help the people of this the united states first then when we as a country are stable we can help others.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  171. J W Hampton

    What we need is is TERM LIMITS in congress.
    They all (congress) have totally loss focus on the American People.
    When they get back home they will find out or should I say,"have their eyes open", by Americans.
    J.W.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  172. Concerned

    I think it is so sad that the people who have been elected to speak & stand for the people are so currput and continue to vote in congress on things they DONT READ and Approve spending that they promised to the people that they would not do. They are simply Liars and Thieves protected by the same! WE NEED CHANGE ALRIGHT -CHANGE THE CONGRESS!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  173. DR Loberg

    Always a double standard for Congress.

    I am announcing my candidacy for Congress for the following reasons:
    1. I want to ride free on one of these new planes
    2. I won't have to pay any Social Security
    3. I will have an excellent retirement
    4. I won't have to participate in the Health Care Program of the masses
    5. Once elected I don't have to listen to those who helped get me into office. I can vote how I want.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  174. Gulfstream flyer

    Yes, the Senior members of our Government and military are afforded to fly on executive type aircraft out of Andrews AFB. Do you think United Air Lines wants to fly the SecState or Sen McCain into Kabul or Bagdad? You didnt mention that the Air Force's Gulfstreams fly there.

    You also failed to mention that Gulfstreams purchased are off the shelf aircraft with sparse interiors compared to CEO jets. The government acquired Gulfsteams are less expensive than civilian acquired Gulfstreams.

    Would it be smarter to wait five or ten more years until all five of the Gulfstream 3's at Andrews are worn out and then scramble to buy more jets at future costs? Or, would it be wiser to replace them one or two at a time over a period of several years?

    Gulfstream Aerospace is an American corperation headquartered in
    Savannah Ga. They are designed and built with american know how and Gulfstream employs thousands of workers. Sounds like money well spent to me.

    I hope we are as lucky when the new tanker is purchased.

    – Anonymous MSgt, USAF

    August 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  175. Barbara

    SHAMEFUL! OUTRAGEOUS!
    How does this happen? What happened to sensible checks and balances in our system?? These people should fly commerical like other people have to do. I do not want MY tax dollars spent for such foolishness.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  176. Joel

    Our Congress has done a wonderful job of turning themselves into a bloated aristocracy. Time to push the big "reboot" button on these yahoos.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  177. Don Smith

    This is a classic reason why congress should concider carefully before shouting fire as in the case of the US auto makers apearance before therm.

    IWhen you concider the security issues plus the amount of travelling done by the agencies who utilize these aircrafts the cost of tickets, delays, and time spent travelling on commercial transpotation would definately cost more (time = money) to the tax payer.

    They might of opted to change more planes now than was requested as it is now much, much, cheaper to do so due to the recession, and the newer ones are also much more efficient.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  178. Kyle

    Stimulus is about spending money to stimulate industry and jobs. Aviation is an industry that employs hundreds of thousands. Engineers, Production, Finances, Management and much more depend on this industry for their paycheck. Not everyone can use a "cash for clunkers" check to stimulate the aviation industry and each plane employs thousands when you consider the FAA and other airworthiness testing facilities.

    Private jets are as much of a need for business expansion and growth as the automobile is to the neccesity of an everyday American. I would pressure those who drive an SUV to walk to work or take the bus. You'll still get there.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  179. Michael E Conner

    It was clear from the first couple of sentences that either Heidi Collins and CNN had made up their biased minds on this issue: You titled your story "Private Jets, Public Money". This was done to create and perpetuate a unquestioningly slanted point-of-view against the use of such aircraft. Can you guys not bear to ease up on keeping your reputation for bias alive? Why not refer to them as "business aircraft"? clearly because that would not make the point your want to make. But it's not your business as a PUBLIC service, but then, you are a PRIVATELY HELD organization, aren't you? It's tiresome to repeatedly have to address your choice to reachout to least educated, most emotionally volatile perspective ono this issue – that of those who choose not to be smart on the subject, and rather prefer to complain withhout any basis on knowledge. So, I'll give you just a sampling of what you already know – but choose not to present:

    1. Personal security / high personal safety
    2. classified / corporate information security
    3. Productive use of time
    4. Confidential / classified meetings enroute
    5. Several meetings in one day
    6. Rapid response to problems
    7. Immediate / flexible response / first resonse to client
    8. Ability to change destinations en route as needs dictate
    9. Saving of leadership / employee time
    10. Increasing productivity en-route
    11. Efficient, reliable, and flexible scheduling
    12. Reduce hours away from home
    13. Ensuring national / industrial security

    ...really, this is too easy.

    (And no, I do not own, fly or sell "business" aircraft)

    August 6, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  180. Stephen Paul

    Heidi; I just toured Congress with staff. I was told the visitor center only cost me $ 2 of my money. That's the way Congress thinks, they didn't ask me for my opinion or my permission to spend my money. I believe Congress must go, we're on the end of this whip line and it's past scary.
    I'd like to be on their (Congress) health plan. What makes us so different from these people we've wrongly entrusted our future to?

    August 6, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  181. Robert

    Time to vote them all out office. Politicians that say one thing and do another should be gone. We need leaders not ones that follow the polls. They should have to read any bill and pass an exam on it or they can't vote on it. They work for "WE THE PEOPLE" we are their boss!!

    August 6, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  182. rosemarie

    I'm not surprised! We are living with very high unemployment, foreclosures, banks defaulting, etc., are these people not living in the real world? Why aren't these congress people on commercial planes, as the people who put them in office are?? They are servants of the "people," their power comes from the "people" and should not be abused simply because they have the ability to take advantage of their office.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  183. Lee Zehrer

    Our lack of democracy and transparent government is the biggest issue that we face as a nation. These self-important leaders don't even condescend to attempt to do the right thing. They just have contempt for the American public and as they well know, there is nothing we can do about it. They will still be re-elected, there is no option for us to gain self-government. It's a dream in Iran, it's a dream in America. From the bank bailout to cap and trade to the health care bill, the public not only has no input on these huge changes to our society but we are held so much in contempt by Congress that they don't bother to even make an attempt to explain what they are doing to us or why. It's our biggest problem as a nation – since the compromises made in back rooms are very poor public policy once they see the light of day.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  184. Ken

    "Why can’t they fly business class commercial, like everyone else?" For the same reasons they do most of the things they do, arrogance and ignorance. I believe the majority truly mean to do good. They're just so insulated from reality if they were a snowball in a desert it would take years for them to melt.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  185. Mary

    this is out rageous congress is more likely corrupt. We need to kick them out. They are not helping at all in the country we live in. They are sitting there laughing at us right now. I would like to know how to kick them out is there a limit on their being in congress they sure do not help the economy at all. what a shame. This is sick.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  186. Barb Hannah

    The arrogance continues!! It's bad enough that Pres Obama is spending a fortune running around in his personal toy, Air Force One. Would there truly be such an emergency situation that one of his minions need to be privately jetted to some location? Are any of these people that important, or are they just egotistical? The government bureaucrats who continue to increase our debt for their own personal gain has to stop - i.e., their paid-for-life salary/ pension, health care plan, annual increases, and the quid-pro-quo deals they make w/ companies & lobbiests at our expense. I am hopeful that Americans send a clear message to their representatives to get back to basics & do their job – REPRESENT US!

    August 6, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  187. Charles Allen

    Hi Don,
    Yes, some of us "old-timers" do still use the U.S.Postal System. I routinely buy my roll of stamps at the neighborhood post office and use them for paying bills and routine mailings. I'm a retired English teacher and I still like the style and grace of personal correspondence. There is nothing quite like getting a personal letter or greeting card in the mailbox. I love writing them and I love recieving the! And, yes, I do use e-mail and blogging. (I might write you a personal note, too, telling you what a splendid job you do there in the newsroom. I think it would put a smile on your face!)

    Charles Allen, Daytona Beach, Florida

    August 6, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  188. Paul

    This could be another place that congress could find money for health care for the many instead of airplanes for the few the ones that voted for this are a bunch of idiots and need to be replaced.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  189. Francine

    Where are they getting all of this money?? Are we not in debt? I see them take huge amounts out of my paycheck to the point I have to work 2 jobs to keep my bills paid. And they do not blink at spending the tax payers money to give themselves a raise or to charge us for their visits out of the country. I say we drop the numbers in the congress and senate by half, the money we could save there would pay for their planes.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  190. Judy Mausolf

    I realize jets are needed, but why so many? Aren't we in debt enough? Where is all this money coming from when we need so many other things for our country?

    Our elected people in Washington are letting us down. Everyone is spending less – EXCEPT OUR GOVERNMANT! Some people need help, but most of us want to stand on our own 2 feet & not be ruled by a socialist government which is where we're headed.

    Thank You.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  191. Jan Gibson

    I think it would be a terrific service to say out loud the names/states of congressmen voting "yes" to the private jet money. If you didn't want to give air time to it, you could post them on your web site. I think all congress people should fly commercial, the airlines need the money.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  192. John Mark Miller

    Just had a great idea for the USPS.com site. Sell Postal Money Orders online and add "send" service for them! Postal Money Orders are known for security and reliability, why not expand this service?
    John Miller

    August 6, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  193. John Mark Miller

    I spent some time in England in 2006, while there I fell and injured my knee. Even though I was not a "royal subject" I was treated and given medication at the A&E Department of the Royal Calderdale Hospital in Halifax, West Yorkshire. While in England I was able to get my contact lenses for much less than I pay for them here (at a discount contact lense store) and the visit to "A&E" cost me not one dime! England has one of the most progressive economies in the world and health care for everyone! While visiting the mother country I noticed that their society is much "more free" than ours and anyone who wants a good job can get one.
    John Miller

    August 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  194. Barry

    I'm mad as hell! What congressmen are responsible??

    August 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  195. Robby

    If people in this country really want to know whats going wrong its called the people in charge! Our congress and President should be fired and replaced with real people! The country should be able to hold a national vote on whether the government should be stripped of all perks and benefits and outrageous salaries! Back during the early days of this country you volunteered your time for service of the people! Your family was not included, they stayed home and waited for their loved one to be done with his service which was generally a one term! Most of the time the volunteer stayed in the capitol without his family and took care of the peoples business! Now being elected is a ticket for success, but it was never intended to be this way!

    August 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  196. mike

    Buying new planes is a good way to get our minds off the real problems Health Care and new jobs. I have always voted democracy but if this health plan go through I will be swiching parties.Doesn't congress listen to the people anymore or do they just vote to save there jobs. mike

    August 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  197. winston

    why is it that CNN is so focused on the negative side of Laura Ling and Euna Lee being back home with their families.you are already talking about adjusting to being back with their families and divorce and all that garbage.why can,t we (America) just focus on the positive side.we have our American citizens back home,safe and with their families,that is a really good thing and I for one am very proud to be an American who sees the good side of things.not all the suppositioning of someone trying hard to manufacture a story line.leave these folks alone and let them work out the re-adjusting to their former life.I am appalled and disgusted with the idea that thet are headed for divorce court on the first day back home." LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR CHRIST SAKE".

    August 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  198. Dennis Foster

    It is hard to believe that the people who work for us in Washington just don't get it. If we do not have the means to purchase things in our daily lives we do without or save up. Not our elected officials. They just tack an earmark to a bill and make it happen. What happened to looking at earmark spending? What happened to Obama transparency? What happened to change we can trust in? More talk to get elected. There needs to be a revolt and less rhetoric. People should be mad as hell about the run away spending. We will live to regret borrowing all this money from China.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  199. Robby

    To Michael Conner,
    1. didnt know that such a price on the heads of congreeman were so high
    2. most of which is on their personal computer in which they lose all the time and not on private jets!
    3. they get a whole month off in August how much time do they need?
    4. should take place in government buildings not private jets!
    5. consolidate meetings, more use of communication lines not gas guzzling private jets!
    6. just as rapid to use the phone or computer, not gas guzzling private jets!
    7. same as above, no need for gas guzzling private jets!
    8. be more prepared, no what your doing, and no need again for private jets!
    9. phones and internet works better than a private jet!
    10. once again can be done throught phone and internet, not a gas guzzling private jet!
    11. once again can be accopmlihed by the phone and internet!
    12. this is what they signed up for to serve the people not to get a job so their family can be jet-setters! their families should not have any right to public money!
    13. didnt know there was such a demand to kill congreeman, in fact 99% can go through commercial flights and most would never even be recognized!- still no call for them to use private jets! If a member of congress wants to fly privately then go out and buy your own jet and crew if you have enough money, but they wont because they get to take advantage of the tax payer and as long as nobodies objecting then they will keep on abusing their powers! Michael Connors, come down off your cloud and join the real world!

    August 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  200. G.H. Rhyne

    That is typical government waste! First ^600 dollar toilet seats, high price hammers, a larger jet for Princess Pelosi to take her home.
    She should try tourist class on commercial ! Now a 3 for one deal without the discount to piss away any thing left in the treasury.after Obama's wonderly flauded heath care bill.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  201. Gerry

    The politiciawns answer to the lobbyists and not the voter. Let the voter take control and give these elected officials back to the Companies the lobbyists work for. vote them all out and let them go to work for the lobbyists controlled corporations they get their gifts from.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  202. Bob M.

    Heidi: We have a epresentative democracy nopt a pure democracy. You and others in the press loev to cite a specific budgetary issue and punctuate the comment with "and YOU are paying forit'. Well, we have an obligation to pay our taxes. After that, the government spends the money as our elceted officials decide. When you think of the harm to our government and national prestige that would come from terrorist capturing a noted Congressperson, the price seems small.

    August 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  203. Lucy

    This is just mean. Especially to citizens like myself who don't even have jobs b/c of their irresponsiblye selfish spending. This recession is really causing me to despise our government, and I come from a family that has fought to defend this country. It's very distressing.

    August 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  204. jim

    To think, these people were accusing members of large corporations of doing wrong because they were spending money on useless business transactions and commodities is ridiculous. I think this is very hypocritical of Congress, and they and all of the leaders of this nation need to set an example for all of the people who live here and work hard for their money. Please explain to me why some scrutinize others for doing such activities, but committ the same activity and believe it's not wrong.

    August 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  205. rob

    HEY HEIDI, DON, TONY RICK I CHOSE THIS SITE BECAUSE SINCE JULY 20TH OR BEFORE I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY SITES ABOUT MOON LANDING DAY; 40 YRS LATER!!!!!!!!! SO SINCE THIS SITE IS TALKING ABOUT GOV. FLYING 1ST LET ME SAY WE NEED A BETTER ECONOMY, HEALTHCARE OR INSURANCE REFORM, EDUCATION REFORM AND A LOT OF OTHER REFORMS AFTER HAVING THIS COUNTRY RUN INTO THE GROUND. THE GOV. GETS PERKS THE PLANES, WELL,......THE PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AND YELLING; THEY NEED TO BE YELLING AND ANGRY AT THE PARTY OF NO!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THAT IS HOW WE GOT HERE FAT CATS ON WALL ST RUNNING WILD; BIG BUSINESS ON MARKET ST MAKING RECORD PROFITS;
    HOUSES ON MAIN ST UNDER WATER; ETC., ETC.,.............WE NEED
    A FEEL GOOD MOMENT THAT ALL THE COUNTRY CAN GET BEHIND
    AND SUPPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!! IN 1961, PRES KENNEDY USED NASA AND
    THE MOON LANDING TO RALLY THE COUNTRY TOTALLY.
    AT THE 40TH YR GALA THEY HAD MERCURY,GEMINI, APOLLO PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT THEIR JOB; IF THEY WERE ALIVE AND
    ABLE THEY WERE THERE..........SINCE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT GOV FLYING...............I BET NOT A PERSON IN THAT ROOM IS WILLING TO STOP THE SHUTTLE; WITHOUT ANY BACKUP AND
    PAY RUSSIA 50 MILLION A PERSON TO FLY WITH THEM . WE HAVE
    FLOWN THE B-52 SINCE 1950'S. THE SHUTTLE IS A EXCELLENT
    VEHICLE AND IF CONTINUING MAINTAINANCE HAPPENS WHY
    CAN'T THE SHUTTLE FLY UNTIL REPLACED. GET THOSE FAT CATS, RECORD PROFIT BUSINESSES, DEFENSE CONTRACTORS
    AND OTHERS BEHIND NASA AND PRES OBAMA BECAUSE
    WE ARE THE PREMIER SPACE COUNTRY AND THE WAY IT IS NOW
    AFTER 2010 WE DON'T HAVE OUR OWN WAY TO GET TO SPACE.
    AND LOOKING AROUND WE NEED A FEEL GOOD MOMENT.

    HEY RICK, SHOULDN'T THAT BE A NTL DEBATE????????????

    ...........................REMEMBER THE YORKTOWN...............................

    ROB

    August 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  206. James R. Collette

    The Republicans and Democrats divide us with wedg issues, work together to keep a 3rd party from gaining media time and they screw our economy and health care up while lining their pockets with taxpayer money. They can be bought for the highest bidder. Is this a democracy?

    August 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  207. Linda Yankah

    Congress voted for military families to pay for utility bills that have since been contracted to private companies despite the struggles many of those families face due to the fact that most of the women that head these families when ther husbands are away are not able to work, instead, they use the money to pay for luxuries such as private jets for themselves, they should rather use that money to help military familes who are struggling .

    August 6, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  208. Dodie - California

    @ John Krystyniak I agree with you on your last sentence!

    This is where Capitalism meets obliteration! It seems to me that we are in a “free-for-all” meaning any egocentric person with even a little bit of intelligence and absolutely no conscience can scam as much money as they can possibly get. Derivatives and Hedge funds just to name a few continue to subjugate the middle class America.

    Am I the only one to see that this country is being torn apart? No amount of printed money will save us from the inevitable. Dogmatic Large corporate America has this country by the jugular and is Audaciously sucking out the life compiled with corrupt government, most often at the top such as Senators, Congress, local government’s administration, etc.

    Those of you who have billions of dollars in off shore accounts under a multitude of factitious names will also lose when the American dollar drops out the bottom. The only way you can keep your precious billions is by laundering it into foreign currency! I consider this an oxymoron and for those of you who continue to drain my country, the emphasis is placed squarely on moron!!!

    A democracy will only work when everyone is willing to take responsibility and contribute! I live in a state where everyone is running a scam anywhere from having their hand out for free money (Welfare, SSI, SSDI, Low income housing) to people like Madoff! Good Grief! When will this end???

    August 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  209. rhonda

    We know that during this day and time safety is important but so is our economy. What about inkind services from the rich and famous. theycould use the private air lines that the rich use and they can donate the plane and fuel and get a nice tax write off and help the the budget. Money saved can go toward healthcare and education.

    August 7, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  210. thomas

    i think its time to take the con out of congress they don't care about about us they just want their nice lives in dc. its two bad that we americans are to afraid to loose what we still have to fight for the things we should have. until we all grow backbones and stand up and say no things will never change.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  211. Bob Thonen

    The lovely new three jets for congress members to cruise around shows their true colors. We now have elitist royalty running things....

    August 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  212. Tony in Largo, FL

    I don't have a problem with Congress buying jets for their use as long as they're used to take care of the business of the people that elected them. I would no more suggest that Pelosi use computers in public libraries to conduct the business of Congress, than I would suggest that she fly commercial.

    If we want fast results in turning around the Economy, we must recognize that our elected officials must have the best tools at their disposal to achieve it. Then again, Ms. Pelosi, and all the others, better know that we are aware of the word "acountability", and all of its applications in the real world.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  213. mr N A

    what this article does not tell is the whole story, the extra jets were purchased to replace planes that were about ready to be retired by the air force, additional, not only will the congress have use of these planes but the military as well. only people with an agenda would disregard all the facts of a story. how do you think high ranking military officers, and executives in the state department and other executive branch people travel. all of these people along with high congress people will use the planes written about in this story. i would suggest that you semi-literate, real close to dumb people look behind the headline

    August 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  214. Betty Phillips

    So now the Obama Voters are seeing what was put out there during the campaign, Obama will soon be the CZAR of Real estate, now he is going to want your home, I am sure Obama has one of his radical friends to be the CZar if he has to spread the Wealth of a hard working person who has struggled to keep their home, it will not matter to Obama, he wants to be the destroyer of our beloved Country. You must remember Obama is not an American Citizen, he was born in Kenya, they need so much in that Country. Even Obama's Uncle lives on 1.00 a week, so look out for Obama the weasel is going to do more for Kenya than he will ever do for you. I believe his "Auntie" is still living in this country even tho Obama says she is going to be deported, after all she is here illegally, so when does she leave? Only Obama can answer that, but, we know it will not be his decision.'
    I want to spread the word to all " Obama is a very unintellegent Person and he is not even doing a good job of faking the smarts for the Presidential role. Oh when is his term up?? I am praying for that day--It will come. Betty Phillips

    August 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  215. B. D.

    THEY WONT TO TAKE MEDICARE AWAY FROM US, AND USE THE MONEY TO BUY JET'S. I HAVE NEWS FOR THEM "PAYDAY IS COMING SOME DAY"

    August 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  216. Patti Manley

    I don't know.....isn't it cheaper to use these Gulfstream jets rather than............say "Air Force One"?

    August 8, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  217. Sharon Ebert

    Anger and shouting is not the way to get someone to listen to you. Most people will stop listening when being verbally attacked, and that is what the protesters at the Town Halls for health care reform have accomplished. The mob like behavior is doing very little for their point of view. I do not agree with everything in the health care plan, however if I were to attend a meeting, I could not be heard over the angry shouting to ask my questions or give my opinion on what I think is wrong with the proposal. Their behavior is causing the opposite effect than what I think they intended. The protesters have lost all credibility from my stand point when they can not sit down and talk rationally.

    August 8, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  218. David Lowery

    I'm not here to judge, God will do that , too many people are broke, some of us can't even pay our high electic bills, we have to buy cheap food, but they don't care about us we vote them in and we can vote them out, but nobody in this country will vote out their sentors or congess, let them know you can what they do vote them out or just shutup !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 8, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  219. Trostie

    Where is President when WE need him to speak for us?? Do step in Mr. President and give congress the same lecture you gave to the auto makers! The audience is waiting...

    August 8, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  220. JIM

    I THINK THAT THIS IS SO WRONG.WE ARE OUT HERE TRYING TO SURVIVE AND PAY OUR TAXES AND JUST BARELY HAVE MONEY LEFT AND OUR CONGRESS IS JUST TAKING 200 MILLION OF OUR MONEY FOR JETS.IT SEEMS OUR NEW OBAMA RUN GOVERMENT IS TAKING WHAT EVER THEY WANT FOR WHATEVER THEY FEEL THEY NEED.THEY CALL IT A STIMILUS BUT DO THEY GIVE ANY MONEY BACK TO THE PEOPLE THAT PUT IT THERE.THEY BAIL OUT CAR COMPANYS AND BIG BUISNESS BUT THEY DONT THINK ABOUT HEL[PING MOST AVERAGE PEOLPE TO HELP THEM GET AHEAD.I THINK THEY SHOULD TAKE SOME OF THE 700 BILLION DOLLARS AND GIVE IT TO US SO WE CAN GET OUR BILLS AND LIVES BACK IN LINE.I HOPE THAT MOST OR ALL OF THE PEOPLE IN GOVERMENT NOW ARE NOT ELECTED BACK IN OFFICE NEXT TIME.ITS JUST NOT RIGHT

    August 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  221. Alan D Simpson

    I think they need to take a comercial flight.With the salary they get they can afford it.Why should tax payers pay for their comfort?They complain about Health Care for all to expensive.I think this is abuse of spending power.

    MRAL

    August 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  222. jack , cape may county,n.j.

    vote out all incumbants ! remove lifetime salary's and benefits , put a 2 term limit on congress and senate just like the president ! let the voters determine whether or not they deserve a payraise , after all they are OUR employees , these people think their royality ! oh yeah , make them restore OUR constitution ! bush ,cheney ,obama , congressand the senate have wiped their butts with it !

    August 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  223. Susan Zaerr

    I think these people acting like they do at town hall meetings is a disgrace. They have been listening to Rush the most dispicable idiot on the air waves. it is oncalled for to call Obama Hitler and lots of other names. It is just about right wing racists that don't want Obama to be our president. They are insane.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  224. Stanley Teal Sr

    I believe we need to have some kind of universal health care for everyone.But I have heard rumors that some of the funding would come from medicare and medicade sector.This should not happen to the elderly or retired citizens.They already have it hard enough as it is. They have already contributed their share in years past. The insurance companies with all their record breaking profits in the billions should help pay in taxes.

    August 10, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  225. Angie

    They want to upgrade their fleet? Most of our military are flying 30+ year old planes. If THEY'RE good enough to protect this country, why can't Congress make due with their 'old' planes?

    August 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  226. JoAnn Hughes

    What sinful waste when our nation has so many critical issues – like 17% unemployment in some counties, countless people with no insurance due to job loses, and losing their homes. People in D.C. are totally out of touch with the everyday life of those they are supposedly representing. Why can't these kind of things make front page news so something can be done??? Thank you so much for reporting this outrage
    J.Hughes

    August 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  227. "BOUDREAUZ" THE ORIGINAL ARIOZNA CAJUN COWBOY

    WE USED TO GIVE THE DOC A COUPLE CHICKENS FOR HIS SERVICE. MY HOW TIMES CHANGE. ALL I ASK IS ALITTLE COMPASSION. USE YOUR OATH THE WAY IT WAS WRITTEN. YES CASH IS KING BUT COMPASSION LETS YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT & HAVE A REALLY COMPLETE LIFE.

    August 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  228. Jim Pierce

    No one never say how france heath care plan works why don't they ask them how .if it works for france it can work the usa.if it works for cuba it can sure work for us ins is robing us broke. jim

    August 12, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  229. Jim Pierce

    Drop the ins. on congress cut there pay to 10.00 an hour and hope they have to go to A DR.jim

    August 12, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  230. sandy

    tell your senators and congressman that if they want your vote they had better not get these private plane. they certainly need to tighten their belts like the rest of us.

    August 13, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  231. Lou

    only in america!! fortune 500 execs can be castigated for flying in private company jets, but congress can by 65 million dollar luxury jets for their travels! Lets give the devil his due... of course its bad to see execs flaunt their extravagances while asking for bailouts. What absolutely horrifies me, though, is that the very same people who are loudly assailing the execs have absolutely nothing to say about congress spending 200 million on 3 luxury jets for its own use!

    The last time I checked, america's businesses were the main funding source of government income.. the money that congress gets to spend. Only in america, eh?

    November 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm |

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