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Amendment to CR blocking furloughs and thrice weekly long distance trains

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lordsigma

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In effect the can has been kicked down the road to after the election. In all likelihood there will be another CR at that point to cover the period between Dec 11 to whenever the new Congress picks things up.
Yes this sounds like exactly the case. The only hope now to stop 3x daily before the election is the negotiations that have resumed between the Speaker and Treasury Secretary on COVID relief. The bill the house proposed yesterday does still include Amtrak funding and requirements that daily LD be maintained and avoiding furloughs. Not sure what will happen with all the furloughs if something eventually passes as some job abolishments have now taken place.
 

MARC Rider

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So no more Mica Rule? Does that mean that when the coronavirus restrictions are no longer needed, that Amtrak now has more flexibility on food and beverage service? Is it possible that, in the long run, they might actually restore quality food and beverage service as a way to rebuild ridership and revenue? Or at least that Amtrak management no longer has the excuse of having to have "profitable" food and beverage service to justify their cuts?
 

jis

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So no more Mica Rule? Does that mean that when the coronavirus restrictions are no longer needed, that Amtrak now has more flexibility on food and beverage service? Is it possible that, in the long run, they might actually restore quality food and beverage service as a way to rebuild ridership and revenue? Or at least that Amtrak management no longer has the excuse of having to have "profitable" food and beverage service to justify their cuts?
Yeah. It only means that Amtrak cannot say that there is a legal requirement for food service to be a non loss making P&L center on its own. That requirement has been removed. As for what the brilliant Amtrak management will or will not do with it is anybody's guess.
 

bms

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Upon reflection, IMHO they should have ejected 49 US Code 24321 in its entirety. The whole thing is silly micromanagement.

For reference 49 U.S. Code § 24321. Food and beverage reform
Thanks for the link! Impossible to say without knowing all the facts, but Amtrak may be in violation of section (c).

(c) Savings Clause.—Amtrak shall ensure that no Amtrak employee holding a position as of the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 is involuntarily separated because of—
(1) the development and implementation of the plan required under subsection (a); or
(2) any other action taken by Amtrak to implement this section.
 

caravanman

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It seems to me that the 3 days a week train service model can be the thin end of the wedge. Once it is brought into operation, after time it may just become the accepted norm, somewhat like the reduced dining car menus...
It will be easier to eventually just "pick off" these vulnerable LD routes for folk who want to see the end of Amtrak, or the selling off to private companies of the best routes. Some contributors here on A.U. seem to be rather anti-Amtrak to my way of thinking?
 

jis

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It all depends on what happens in the upcoming elections. Anything between complete destruction to stabilization and growth or any point in between is possible depending on how things turn out. Also given the fast moving events at present, a pre-election panic second COVID Relief bill is apparently a bit more within the realm of possibilities.

Selling anything off to private companies is within the realm of fantasies at present. It is not possible to do without significant new legislation, and that is pretty near impossible before the next Congress is seated after the election. Which brings us back to the first paragraph. ;)
 

crescent-zephyr

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It seems to me that the 3 days a week train service model can be the thin end of the wedge. Once it is brought into operation, after time it may just become the accepted norm, somewhat like the reduced dining car menus...
It will be easier to eventually just "pick off" these vulnerable LD routes for folk who want to see the end of Amtrak, or the selling off to private companies of the best routes. Some contributors here on A.U. seem to be rather anti-Amtrak to my way of thinking?
We have seen the 3x week schedule and limited dining reverse course before. But it certainly isn’t a good sign.
 

Dakota 400

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Also given the fast moving events at present, a pre-election panic second COVID Relief bill is apparently a bit more within the realm of possibilities.
I have read that others think this is more possible soon than it was a week or more ago. But, how? I thought the House just went into Recess. If the Senate accepts the most recent Bill the House passed, some "tunes" are going to have to be majorly changed by the Senate leadership.
 

Lonestar648

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Will the Senate consider the CR with members out sick with Covid? Members can monitor discussion at home getting over Covid, but they have to vote in person. If a vote is done without the missing Senators, how will/will not change the bill?
 

jis

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Will the Senate consider the CR with members out sick with Covid? Members can monitor discussion at home getting over Covid, but they have to vote in person. If a vote is done without the missing Senators, how will/will not change the bill?
There will be no more CRs before Dec 11. The CR has been signed. sealed and delivered. The President signed it Wednesday night, just in time before the new FY started.

We are talking about a separate stimulus bill. I don't understand how exactly that would happen either, specially at the larming rate at twhich Senators are going into quarantine after testing positive..
 

Devil's Advocate

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To the best of my knowledge the only Senate business moving forward is the judicial confirmation process. Nearly everything else is being tabled or suspended for safety reasons. Time is running out but Senators who tested positive have indicated they will simply return to the office and vote in person before the 14 day quarantine window has completed. It seems doubtful that emergency funding bills will enjoy similar allowances.
 
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Thunder

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The emergency funding bill ( CR8337) was sent over after Nancy messed up with HR2.

CR8337 was pressured by the unions involved here at Amtrak and commuter transit agencies. It STILL didn’t have the language to stop furloughs and keep daily service.

now we have another boondoggle “ COVID relief package” that they say will include this yet be so full of junk, that some may not go for it even in a lame duck session.

the representative union leadership is not pleased. I am pretty sure Nancy’s office heard all about it, as they should have.
 

Barb Stout

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The emergency funding bill ( CR8337) was sent over after Nancy messed up with HR2.

CR8337 was pressured by the unions involved here at Amtrak and commuter transit agencies. It STILL didn’t have the language to stop furloughs and keep daily service.

now we have another boondoggle “ COVID relief package” that they say will include this yet be so full of junk, that some may not go for it even in a lame duck session.

the representative union leadership is not pleased. I am pretty sure Nancy’s office heard all about it, as they should have.
What is the mess up in CR2 that you are referring to?
 

jis

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What is the mess up in CR2 that you are referring to?
Indeed I would like to know the specifics too instead of what I consider to be content free sweeping accusation.

And how is 8337 related to HR2. They are two very different bills.
We are talking about a separate stimulus bill. I don't understand how exactly that would happen either, specially at the larming rate at twhich Senators are going into quarantine after testing positive..
The problem may indeed be on the Senate side. But unlike for the SCOTUS issue, all those Republican members are not needed to pass a stimulus bill that the House has passed. Just a dozen or two Republican Senators would be sufficient one would imagine.

Nancy Pelosi said today (10/4/20) that if a deal is struck between the Administration and the House negotiating team then she will call the House members back to pass the resulting bill before the election.
 
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Dakota 400

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To the best of my knowledge the only Senate business moving forward is the judicial confirmation process. Nearly everything else is being tabled or suspended for safety reasons. Time is running out but Senators who tested positive have indicated they will simply return to the office and vote in person before the 14 day quarantine window has completed. It seems doubtful that emergency funding bills will enjoy similar allowances.
My understanding as well that the Senate will not hold any floor sessions for awhile with only the Judiciary Committee meeting. Not sure about any of the other Committees, but Senator McConnell seemed very clear about his plans for the Senate as I heard them reported.

There are reports in the media about the ability of the Judiciary Committee to do its job. But, I don't understand why that would be an issue if only a couple of the GOP members are in quarantine.
 

Devil's Advocate

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There are reports in the media about the ability of the Judiciary Committee to do its job. But, I don't understand why that would be an issue if only a couple of the GOP members are in quarantine.
With these particular senators out the committee would have even numbers and the nominee cannot be passed onto the full senate without a majority. Hearings can still be held but not the actual confirmation. There's also the matter of running out of senators to establish a quorum. Unlike the House the Senate leadership resisted plans for remote voting so they still have to vote in person to keep the schedule they want. If they're delayed by more than a few days there's a risk the nomination won't be confirmed until the lame duck session. If a new justice has not been seated by the election only current justices could rule on election related disputes. Senate rules can be vague and complicated but this is a general explanation for why infected senators are promising to return in person no matter their medical status.
 
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daybeers

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With these particular senators out the committee would have even numbers and the nominee cannot be passed onto the full senate without a majority. Hearings can still be held but not the actual confirmation. There's also the matter of running out of senators to establish a quorum. Unlike the House the Senate leadership resisted plans for remote voting so they still have to vote in person to keep the schedule they want. If they're delayed by more than a few days there's a risk the nomination won't be confirmed until the lame duck session. If a new justice has not been seated by the election only current justices could rule on election related disputes. Senate rules can be vague and complicated but this is a general explanation for why infected senators are promising to return in person no matter their medical status.
Thanks for this easy-to-understand explanation! I think it's so wild the Senate resisted remote voting. Is there no chance they'd start now with so many possibly infected?
 

bms

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With these particular senators out the committee would have even numbers and the nominee cannot be passed onto the full senate without a majority. Hearings can still be held but not the actual confirmation. There's also the matter of running out of senators to establish a quorum. Unlike the House the Senate leadership resisted plans for remote voting so they still have to vote in person to keep the schedule they want. If they're delayed by more than a few days there's a risk the nomination won't be confirmed until the lame duck session. If a new justice has not been seated by the election only current justices could rule on election related disputes. Senate rules can be vague and complicated but this is a general explanation for why infected senators are promising to return in person no matter their medical status.
If a Senator of any party tries to take a commercial flight while infected, they should be denied boarding and voted out of office!
 

Dakota 400

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If a Senator of any party tries to take a commercial flight while infected, they should be denied boarding and voted out of office!
If the airlines are doing any screening of boarding passengers, they probably would get "caught" and be denied boarding.
 

Dakota 400

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With these particular senators out the committee would have even numbers and the nominee cannot be passed onto the full senate without a majority
Thanks for an excellent explanation. After I made my post, I was wondering if the absence of those two Senators might lead to equal numbers of members of both parties.


But the Senate leadership has such respect for precedent. How could they possibly consider going against a position they've already taken?
The Senior Senator from Kentucky, Senator Flip-Flop, doesn't seem to have a problem with doing such.
 
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