From NBC's Mike Viqueira
An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that it is up to the Air Force to decide what type and size of plane will be required to ferry her back and forth to her San Francisco district. Republicans in the House have been raising questions about what they characterize as demands by Pelosi to the military for a plane large enough to carry Democratic "supporters" and Pelosi staff non-stop cross country. Rep. Adam Putnam (R), for one, says its evidence of "arrogance of office," while House Minority Whip Roy Blunt says that he hears she wants a plane large enough for a sleeping chamber, or "Lincoln bedroom" aboard her "Air Force III."
But here is what we know for a fact:
-- After September 11, Pelosi's predecessor, Dennis Hastert, was afforded the use of an Air Force passenger plane to go back and forth to his Chicago-area district. The speaker is, of course, after the vice president in the presidential line of succession.
-- At the recommendation of House Sergeant At Arms Bill Livingood -- a former Secret Service agent who was appointed to his current job by Republicans -- Pelosi has asked the Pentagon for a plane that can carry her non-stop to her home in California. Such a plane would probably end up being larger than the one used by Hastert.
-- The C-32, a modified 757, is one type of plane that would fit the bill.
-- Pelosi's aide says that she has never asked for a plane or space on a plane to accommodate "supporters." The aide calls this "right wing spin."
In a statement, Livingood said, "In December 2006, I advised Speaker Pelosi that the US Air Force had made an airplane available to Speaker Hastert for security and communications purposes following September 11, 2001. I told Speaker Pelosi that Speaker Hastert used the Air Force plane for travel to and from his district, however, I was uncertain of the rules and guidelines governing use of the plane. I offered to call the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense to seek clarification of the guidelines."
More: Subsequently, several members of the Speaker's staff and members of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms met with representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Air Force liaison office to discuss the rules and guidelines which governed Speaker Hastert's use of a plane. Several questions were posed to the Air Force and we are awaiting a response."