Bad Watchdog Season 2 launches June 20.

Policy Letter

Organizations call on Senate to vote against the Air Force leasing Boeing 767s at a price dramatically higher than the cost of direct purchase

Americans for Tax Reform

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Congressional Accountability Project

Ronnie Dugger

Ralph Nader

National Taxpayers Union

Project On Government Oversight

Public Citizen

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Dear Senator:

Even as veteran observers of the Congressional appropriations process, we are shocked, and outraged, by the provision in the Defense Appropriations bill that would have the Air Force lease Boeing 767s at a price dramatically higher than the cost of direct purchase. We are writing to urge you to take to the floor to speak and vote against this specific siphoning of taxpayer money to the Boeing company.

Leave aside the serious questions about whether the Air Force wants or needs the 767s, and simply consider the economics of this sugar-coated deal. Under the Boeing lease provision, the Air Force will lease 100 Boeing 767s for use as tankers, at a pricetag of $20 million per plane per year, over a 10-year period. This $20 billion expenditure is far higher than the cost of direct purchase. The government will accrue extra expenses because it will be obligated not only to convert the commercial aircraft to military configurations; when the 10-year lease is over, it will be required to convert them back to commercial format, at an estimated cost of $30 million a piece. Senator John McCain says the cost of the lease plan is five times higher than an outright purchase would be. Senator Phil Gramm says, "I do not think, in the 22 years I have been here, I have ever seen anything to equal this."

There is no conceivable rationale for such a waste of taxpayer resources. If some in Congress believe Boeing needs to be subsidized, then they should propose direct subsidies to the company, and let Congress fully debate and vote on the issue before the American people, following comprehensive public hearings on the proposal.

This is not a partisan issue. It is a basic test of whether Congress views itself as fundamentally accountable to the public interest, both procedurally and substantively.

There will obviously be a Defense Appropriations bill passed for the coming fiscal year. But it must not be one that includes such a gross exhibition of corporate welfare. We urge you to speak and vote against the bill; and to force consideration of a revised bill, stripped of this grotesquery.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Grover Norquist, President

Americans for Tax Reform

Thomas A. Schatz, President

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Gary Ruskin, Director

Congressional Accountability Project

Ronnie Dugger

Alliance for Democracy (organization listed for identification only)

Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications

National Taxpayers Union

Danielle Brian, Executive Director

Project On Government Oversight

Joan Claybrook, President

Public Citizen

Joe Theissen, Executive Director

Taxpayers for Common Sense