The Imperial Speakership
By California Yankee Posted in Democrats — Comments (14) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants "routine access to military aircraft for domestic flights, such as trips back to her San Francisco district:"
The sources, who include those in Congress and in the administration, said the Democrat is seeking regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation. A knowledgeable source called the request "carte blanche for an aircraft any time."
Generally restricted to official trips abroad, or for domestic flights to military bases or events to which the Pentagon invited the lawmaker, Pelosi's request to grandly expand Congressional access to military aircraft is imperial in scope:
U.S. Air Force travel for VIPs such as members of Congress is first-rate. The planes are staffed with stewards who serve meals and tend an open bar. Communications suites allow members to conduct business while traveling.
Pelosi's request goes far beyond the unusual access received by former Speaker Dennis Hastert after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Speaker Hastert started using U.S. Air Force planes for domestic travel to and from his district for security reasons, after the horrific attacks against New York and Washington. According to the Times, Hastert did not use military planes for political trips or regularly transport his family.
Perhaps Speaker Pelosi went too far with ethics reforms that require lawmakers to pay the market cost of flying on a corporate jet. Maybe that makes all those junkets and campaign trips too expensive. Nevertheless, trying to turn the U.S. Air Force into the Speaker's official airline is a bit much.