In a press conference held yesterday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from San Francisco, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, announced that the congress had purchased three new private luxury planes. The planes will be used to transport members of congress to and from Washington and their home districts.
"We are very excited about the purchase of these new aircraft," said Ms. Pelosi. "We in congress recognize the challenges that all Americans are facing during this severe economic downturn. The American people rightly expect us to act quickly and decisively to help create jobs and put people back to work. The purchase of these luxury aircraft for use by the leaders in congress, their staff, their family, their friends, and their important contributors represents a boost to the aircraft manufacturing industry. This industry has been devastated by the recession and the drop in orders by CEOs and Big Corporations that are afraid to use private aircraft after witnessing the outrage expressed by members of congress to the heads of the three major automakers when they arrived by private jet to plead for federal bailout money. As members of congress, we are in a unique position to be able to utilize these luxury planes without fear of criticism by fellow members of congress. So it really makes sense from that standpoint."
Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California, echoed the Speaker's sentiments. "You have to understand, in this current politically charged, highly partisan environment, it is simply not feasible for members of congress to travel to their districts by commercial airlines. The GOP is deliberately packing these First Class sections with lobbyist-paid protesters pretending to be angry about health care and deficit spending. We know these protesters are fake because they wear suits and dress nicely. No, I'm serious."
The three new luxury aircraft are the beginning of a program to purchase a total of 535 private jets, one for each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The cost of the program, estimated to be $36 billion, will be offset through matching reductions in aircraft purchases for the military."
When told about the luxury jet purchase program, Representative Charles Rangel, Democrat from New York, remarked "Well, get two. I'm not sharing with Caitlin."