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Amtrak Budget Slashed One Day After Crash

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Devil's Advocate

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WASHINGTON -- Within a day of an Amtrak derailment that killed at least 7 people and injured many others, a House committee voted Wednesday to slash funding for the railroad service, over objections from Democrats. The House Appropriations committee rejected multiple amendments to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill that sought to increase funding for Amtrak. The bill cuts the rail service's funding to $1.14 billion, down $251 million from its current level. Democrats offered amendments to raise that funding to the $2.45 billion requested by President Barack Obama, but Republicans rejected the measures, arguing that increasing Amtrak's funding without cutting spending elsewhere would put the legislation above spending caps and threaten to kill the whole bill.
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/house-funding-amtrak_n_7276026.html
 

Bob Dylan

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Another slap in the face to America thanks to politics getting in the way of improving the infastructure of this country.
True this!

The Congress critters in the Clown Car should to be made to ride bikes to and from their districts!

This is a real slap in the face to the American people! Tax cuts for the rich and pointless wars are all that matter to these people
 
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reppin_the_847

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These idiotic politicians should have allotted MORE funds for Amtrak in order to install PTC to prevent future incidents such as the one from last night.

How about an even better idea. Cut their salaries, force them to sell their million dollar Fairfax County, VA mansions and move these bloated politicians to the middle of Baltimore somewhere lol.
 
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"...Republicans rejected the measures, arguing that increasing Amtrak's funding without cutting spending elsewhere."

Typically they want off setting cuts to 'entitlements' such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, etc.
 

NW cannonball

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This was just a committee vote - probably mostly symbolic for the committe-members base of donors.

Don't let this discourage. Write, call, expalain, find support for the Amtrak services real voters want
 

NE933

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But we are not electing this. This leadership is a bunch of schmucks, and some have far flung influence in places our votes can never reach. The only way is to use your voices, pens, and wallets.
 

George K

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Let's put aside the hysteria for a moment. The budget has not been slashed. A House committee voted to cut Amtrak spending. The full House has yet to vote on this recommendation (and, frankly, I'd be surprised if it passes in the wake of yesterday's tragedy).

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/13/politics/congress-amtrak-funding-crash/

Secondly,

The cut would apply only to Amtrak's capital spending and wouldn't touch funding levels for safety and operations.
So, if I read this right - the cuts will occur elsewhere. Where is another question altogether.
 

CHamilton

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George K

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desertflyer

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Yes, they're all horrible - but somehow the people they represent keep electing them to office. Strange.
But we are not electing this. This leadership is a bunch of schmucks, and some have far flung influence in places our votes can never reach. The only way is to use your voices, pens, and wallets.
I always say Americans hate Congress, but love their Congressman.
 

PRR 60

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It is nit-picking, but Amtrak's budget was not slashed today. A House committee voted to move a bill that, if passed by the full house, if passed by the Senate (unchanged), and if signed by the President, would then, and only then, reduce the appropriation to Amtrak. This is step one in a multi-step appropriation process. Until the process is complete, and the bill is signed by the President, Amtrak's budget is unchanged. The odds of the final appropriation being the bill moved by the committee today are very low.
 
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WoodyinNYC

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Yes, they're all horrible - but somehow the people they represent keep electing them to office. Strange.
It is strange when one party wins a national election for President by a margin of 4%, but the other party wins control of Congress. Note that these are different constituencies. The nationwide election cannot be gerrymandered, and statewide elections cannot be gerrymandered. But in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and many others, with the help of computer programs, the legislatures have drawn the lines so that their party wins almost all the state's Congressional districts, despite the other party carrying the state in the vote for the Electoral College to choose the President.

Both parties do it, but one party controls more legislatures. Until the 200-year old system of fixing the borders of districts is changed, the fix is in for Congressional elections, and the minority party wins control.

The nationwide elections, and polling results, shows that the American people support Amtrak and passenger rail. But as I said, the fix is in.
 

Ryan

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You are correct sir. I've posted the exact numbers here before, but In the 2012 election cycle, there were more ballots cast for the Democratic House Cadidates than there were for the Republican House Candidates. Once would expect that to yield Democratic control of the House, or at least very close to even numbers, which is not what the end result was.

Excellent reading on the topic: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/01/this-is-the-best-explanation-of-gerrymandering-you-will-ever-see/?tid=sm_fb
 

Bob Dylan

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Its not just the Congressional elections that are rigged by Gerrymandering, it also is happening in State Legislatures, County and Local Governments which are becoming more and more important in funding rail of all types!

As they say in Chicago, Vote Early and Vote Often!!!
 
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Just sent my letter through the NARP link above. I disagree with my new Congressman on a lot, but at least his office responds to my messages and addresses specifics of what I wrote, so I know they are being read.

I also tried to put in a plug for AAF on the NARP link, but it said I had to be a Florida resident. :( Maybe someday, at least in the winters! :)
 

neroden

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The long term solution to deal with gerrymandering, malapportionment, the spoiler effect, Duverger's Law, and other such ills, is proportional representation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation

http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/voting-systems

I've practically given up on getting this done in the US my lifetime because so few Americans have even heard of the *concept*. You have to have an idea in people's heads before they'll consider it. At least in the UK people have heard of it.
 

George K

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I suppose it's wandering a bit afield here, but I don't think it's fair to blame the GOP for all the Gerrymandering that occurs.

To wit: a map of my congressional district in Illinois, a heavily Democratic state.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 12.20.08 PM.png

See that strip that goes from South to North at the Western part of the district?

It is the width of the interstate (I294).
 

jis

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The article on Duverger's Law in Wikipedia is also interesting in this context.

As usual India is a case unto itself where the lower house uses first past the post and a significant portion of the upper house uses STV, but with a small set of reserved seats using other methods like appointment by the President etc. And India also has some 40 political parties that are active.

No wonder when Alexander the Great stood with Seleucus on the banks of the Indus, he said to Seleucus in exasperation: "Seleucus, this land is completely crazy. I can't deal with it. I am heading home. you deal with it.", and left! :) :p
 

Bob Dylan

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Good point George, they all did it, but now that the Publicans control most of the States Governments ( Governor,Lege and Courts)they are packing minorities into certain districts ( see the North Carolina "Corkscrew" and "Roller Coaster" Districts and the Districts in Texas that resemble nothing ever seen on earth before!) and passing draconian Voter registration laws to ensure that their Minority Party ( Old White Mens Last Stand!)keeps control of the Government!

My Congressman,a Democrat, ( Excellent Public Servant!) has been redistricted four times during his service including a district thatvran from Austin clear to the Rio Grande Valley along a US Highway ( similar to yours) and now runs down I-35 to San Antonio in a similar manner! He's been the #1 target on the GOPs hit list ever since the Gingrich/Tom Delay Machine Days and keeps on winning by 60-70% margins!

Austin, in 90% Democratic Travis County

( a Republican has Never carried Travis County!) Now has 5 Congressional Districts, 4 Republican and 1 Democrat,in a Gerrymandered scheme by the Republican Lege that made Travis County a Pie with the slices meeting @ the State Capitol in downtown Austin!

This will be decided soon by the Supreme Court, probably on a 5-4 decision by the usual suspects that were appointed by Republican Presidents! ( the same ones that over turned parts of the Voting Rights Act and the worst decision of our Lifetime, Citizens United!!)

Do politics really matter? Oh hell yes! "To the Victor belongs the spoils" is still the name of the game even if you have to lie, cheat,bribe and steal to win!!
 
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