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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.

More below.  

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 strangely anonymous Gibson flack -- Stephanie Valle, obviously -- tried to gild this turd of a vote with a blatant appeal to the tea party micro-minority:

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  For now, why don't we just focus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, BarackStarObama

    on what we can get done - or not get done - right here in the USA?

    Evidently, the richest country in the world just cannot do that.

    •  Many Years Ago, I Think It Was 1997 (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, Roadbed Guy, Gooserock, Losty, MadRuth

      I was a consultant for Amtrak. At that time we were spending the same amount as Uruguay. 37 cents a person, per year. Ponder that for a few seconds.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:31:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very well, I've pondered it for a few seconds (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        webranding, devtob

        and all I have to say is "what brought on the sudden urge to bash Uruguay?"

      •  We're paying much more than that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for every gallon of gas in defense spending, and that's somehow okay.

        The late Milton Copulos was a veteran of the Heritage Foundation, an advisor to both President Ronald Reagan’s White House and the CIA, as well as the head of the right-wing National Defense Council Foundation. He was particularly concerned with dependence on foreign oil, and he highlighted how oil imports were both an economic boon to unsavory governments abroad and a missed opportunity for domestic investment. In 2006, Copulos argued that, if you add to oil-related defense spending such factors as the economic impact of periodic oil supply disruptions and the opportunity costs of money spent on oil imports that might have been used elsewhere in the economy, the "hidden" costs of the U.S. dependence on petroleum would total up to $825 billion per year.

        "To put the figure in further perspective," he wrote, "it is equivalent to adding $8.35 to the price of a gallon of gasoline refined from Persian Gulf oil."

    •  We Are. What We Can Get Done is Nothing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What we're focused on for the next 2 years is slowing down the wrecking ball.

      Probably the next 4 as well, because nobody professional is saying we have a clear shot at regaining power.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:46:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I caught some of this debate on CSPAN (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Gooserock, MadRuth

    and apparently or at least from what I caught - some of these state representatives had actually voted to cut funds that would have covered these disasters in the first place and has also turned back stimulus funds.  Thus, the need to cut the plans for "high speed" rail.  

    There is plenty of hypocrisy, but very little means of exposing it.  

    It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

    by ciganka on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:25:18 AM PDT

  •  Duh, rail is socialism. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MadRuth, devtob

    Only federally funded highways are truly a symbol of Free America!

  •  Countries Are Not Supposed to Do ANYTHING. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, divitius

    Get it?

    It doesn't matter what'd be helpful, nice, lucrative, or life saving. The government is forbidden to meddle in the general welfare. That's the job of GLOBAL MARKETS and CHURCHES.

    That's their religion and they're winning.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 05:44:21 AM PDT

  •  I live in Erie, PA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about two hours away from Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland. Multiple plans for high speed rail stop at one or more of those cities, and don't connect to Erie. I worry that we're going to be left out.

    Every single economic plan introduced by local pols or business leaders describes Erie as an important economic zone because we have a small airport, and two lightly traveled interstate highways that intersect.

    To not have high speed rail will be akin to not having immediate access to the interstate highway system, or, akin to living in pre-TVA Appalachia. Erie will become an economic dead zone without it.

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