The House voted to spend over half a billion on eight new jets to fly its members around yesterday. (Yes, this is the same Congress that's always excoriating bailed-out executives for "using" taxpayer dollars on jets.) The Pentagon, which manages the fleet of about two dozen aircraft used for congressional travel here and abroad, hadn't requested this many new planes and was surprised by the vote. "We ask for what we need and only what we need," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell scolded on Wednesday. "We've always frowned upon earmarks and additives that are above and beyond what we ask for." According to the Journal, the House Appropriations Committee explained away the new purchases by saying they were much-needed replacements for aging jets, and also a necessary expansion of passenger capacity. Also, they were to make sure "the troops have everything they need." Oh, come on. This is obviously just because everyone's a little ashamed the government had to borrow Steve Bing's jet to fly Bill Clinton to North Korea. It's okay, guys, you can admit it. We were embarrassed, too.
Congress Gets an Upgrade [WSJ]