What: All Issues : Environment : Rail Transportation : (H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have cut federal funding for Amtrak rail service by $446.9 million. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such bills are known as “continuing resolutions, or “CRs”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs. (2011 house Roll Call 79)
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(H.R. 1) On an amendment that would have cut federal funding for Amtrak rail service by $446.9 million. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such bills are known as “continuing resolutions, or “CRs”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
house Roll Call 79     Feb 17, 2011
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) that would have cut federal funding for Amtrak rail service by $446.9 million. This amendment was offered to legislation funding the federal government (such bills are known as “continuing resolutions, or “CRs”) through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.

Sessions urged support for his amendment: “In 2008, the Pew Charitable Trusts Foundation performed a study of Amtrak's services. According to that study, the 20 most egregiously inefficient train lines run annual deficits between $4.9 million and $59.4 million per year… Amtrak has proven to be a money-losing venture that the government can no longer sustain and support. In 2008 alone, Amtrak lost $1.1 billion. At a time of record debt and deficit, this amendment stops wasteful spending and directs the entire $446,900,000 to the spending reduction account to help pay down the debt. We must operate within some sense of business operation of common sense. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment to reduce federal spending.”

Rep. John Olver (D-MA) opposed the amendment: “The gentleman's proposal is to cut…$446 million…That happens to leave us in a situation where there is almost no money left for Amtrak to operate, to do any capital program for the rest of the year… if the gentleman's amendment were adopted, it would take $446 million out [of Amtrak’s federal funding], leaving only $403 million left…So it virtually ends up with leaving them [Amtrak] nothing…for the kind of emergencies and anything that would be otherwise planned for the rest of the year. Now that, in fact, means then that Amtrak will in fact terminate another 1,000 jobs.”

The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 176-250. Voting “yea” were 176 Republicans. All 190 Democrats present and 60 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut federal funding for Amtrak rail service by $446.9 million.

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