The radical Republicans in the House voted Friday to redirect more than $1 billion in stimulus funding for "high-speed" rail projects to flood relief in the Midwest.
The scare quotes are around "high-speed" because most of these projects are sorely needed infrastructure repairs and upgrades to tracks that will never see the kind of 150-mph-plus trains that have been running in France and Japan for years.
Evidently, the richest country in the world just cannot do that.
Nevertheless, these projects create good jobs in our country doing long-overdue work to improve our rail infrastructure, improvements that will last for decades.
The vote in the House was closer than normal these days -- 219-196 -- but remarkably every tea party Republican in New York state voted with their fellow radicals.
And voted against about $500 million worth of jobs in their state.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, NY-28, who has taken the lead on this issue in New York, slammed the weird connection between rail infrastructure and flood relief:
This is the latest in the majority’s agenda that can best be described as penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Using the tragedy of the national disasters in America’s heartland as a political tool to try to eliminate a job-creation program, one of the very few we have, is just wrong.
Slaughter's office thoughtfully provided some numbers, which showed that NY's newbie tea party Republicans, like following-orders Chris Gibson, NY-20, have voted against many millions for their districts.
Gibson would lose $60,581,756 intended for two HSIPR projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This rescission would result in the loss of as many as 1,686 jobs. The projects that would be halted are, “Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements” and “Empire Corridor South: Grade Crossing Improvements.”
A spokeswoman for Gibson, a Republican, said that while he supports the passenger rail projects and appreciates their significance to the economy, he opposes the use of federal stimulus dollars. Instead, Gibson is seeking federal funding through more traditional transportation funding appropriations.
Yeah, right, a rookie will be able to get $60M through a committee he does not serve on. When pigs drive trains.
This is the same Chris Gibson who is a following-orders member of the House economic-terror caucus which is holding a routine debt-ceiling vote hostage to massive cuts in domestic spending for things like rail infrastructure improvements.
Gibson is not the only freshman tea party Republican in NY to vote to screw his constituents. They all have, especially on the Ryan Radical Republican budget, but also on sending even more money from New York to South Dakota.
But Gibson is the radical Republican nearest to where I live, misrepresenting a battleground district that was professionally represented by Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Scott Murphy from 2006 to 2010.
So I write about Gibson here when he shows his true colors -- not the earnest Boy Scout-type he affects, but the clueless follower of radical Republican House leaders Boehner and/or Cantor, even if it costs his district more than 1,000 jobs.
In just one bad vote.