House leaders are slashing their $550 million order for eight new executive jets for use by senior government officials, caving to pressure from fellow lawmakers and the Pentagon, Politico reports. John Murtha’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee had more than doubled the Pentagon’s original request for $220 million to buy four new jets. Now, Murtha says he’ll nix that extra spending if the Pentagon agrees.
“If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill,” Murtha said last night, though he pointed out that the planes would have only replaced aging members of the executive fleet, and would cost less to operate. Nancy Pelosi says she supports Murtha’s decision to slash the order, which became an embarrassment to the House after several senators jumped on it, including Armed Services honchos Jack Reed and John McCain.