Congress to Spend $550M on 8 New Jets!

Last Updated Aug 10, 2009 4:13 PM EDT

You read the headline right, folks. Remember how outraged congressional leaders and the media were over the big three automaker's CEOs and their corporate jets?
Big Three CEOs Flew Private Jets to Plead for Public Funds Big Three Auto Chiefs Fly Into PR Turbulence It's $25 Billion, Senator. I'll Be Waiting in My Gulfstream Company Jets and Shamed CEOs
Well, in the rush to condemn this outrageous behavior, did anybody stop to ask our lawmakers how they get around? According to the Wall Street Journal piece - Congress Gets an Upgrade: $500 Million Slated for Purchase of Eight More Planes as Lawmakers' Travel Soars - it certainly looks like a case of do as I say, not as I do.
WASHINGTON -- Congress plans to spend $550 million to buy eight jets, a substantial upgrade to the fleet used by federal officials at a time when lawmakers have criticized the use of corporate jets by companies receiving taxpayer funds.

The congressional shopping list goes beyond what the Air Force had initially requested as part of its annual appropriations. The Pentagon sought to buy one Gulfstream V and one business-class equivalent of a Boeing 737 to replace aging planes. The Defense Department also asked to buy two additional 737s that were being leased.

Lawmakers in the House last week added funds to buy those planes, and plus funds to buy an additional two 737s and two Gulfstream V planes. The purchases must still be approved by the Senate. The Air Force version of the Gulfstream V each costs $66 million, according to the Department of Defense, and the 737s cost about $70 million.

Congress turned harshly critical of companies that fly executives on private jets in the weeks following the government bailout of banks and auto makers last year. General Motors, Chrysler LLC and Citigroup Inc. were among those caught in the cross hairs of angry lawmakers.

The 737s, known as C-40s by the military, are designed to be an "office in the sky" for government leaders, according to Air Force documents describing the plane. The plane is configured with all first-class leather seats, worktables, two large galleys for cooking and a "distinguished visitor compartment with sleep accommodations."

Lawmakers typically fly on military jets, where members of the Armed Services carry bags and take drink orders. When flying on military jets, lawmakers are permitted to bring along spouses at no cost.

There is often a shortage of military planes for use by lawmakers when Congress is in recess ...

I know, I know, some of you are going to say it isn't the same thing. Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. But still, you've got to admit, it's more than a little ironic. You've got to have a sense of humor about this stuff.