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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 3, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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according to the federal railroad administration, these sorts of highway rail grade crossing accidents lead to 270 deaths every year. just this morning media outlets were featuring a viral video from an amtrak silver star train colliding with a car and slicing it in half after the driver drove around the lowered gate at a rail crossing in jacksonville, florida. miraculously every passenger survived with only minor injuries. but this video demonstrates that even when with gate and warning lights, human error and miscalculations can have devastating consequences. that's why we need to educate drivers, passengers and pedestrians on how to avoid accidents along railroad tracks and at highway-rail grade crossings. technology safety advances are essential, make no mistake, but they are not enough. we must educate people about the dangers of walking along railroads or ignoring rail
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crossing warning signals. the operation life saver program is an effective public safety campaign that encourages drivers and pedestrians to stop, look and listen at highway rail grade crossings and increase awareness in all 50 states. . congress authorized operation lifesafer. my amendment toll increase funding for the operation lifesafer rail program is fiscally responsible and does not increase spending. this is offset by a small reduction in reduction. and an account that will receive $75 million above the administration's request. thank you madam chairman. the chair: the gentlelady from connecticut reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition?
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mr. diaz-balart: claim the time in opposition. just moments ago, we increased the safety and operations by $3.5 million. this amendment, however, wol result in an unsustainable cut to f.a.a.'s account. communities would lose service. frankly, critical operational support staff would have to be furloughed or even laid off. and safety could be compromised for flights and flights could be potentially canceled. therefore, i cannot support this well-intentioned offset and therefore i cannot support this amendment. thank you. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized. ms. esty: i urge passage of this
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amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from connecticut. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. ms. esty: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from connecticut will be postponed. for what purpose does -- for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. chairman will the -- the chair: will the gentleman specify which amendment. mr. dold: number 15. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. dold of illinois, page 12, line 25, after the dollar amount
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insert reduced by $290 million. page 13, line 10, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $81,203,000. page 13, line 7 insert reduced by $208 million. page 47, line 11 -- the chair: without objection, the amendment is considered as read. pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman from illinois and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. dold: i rise today in support of an amendment to increase funding for amtrak's account. the bill cuts $290 million which is used to upgrade or replace the infrastructure alone with the fleet of passenger cars and
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other equipment. the chicago area which i represent is a hub of our nation's transportation network. over 30 million people ride it every year and many of those passengers ride through the city of chicago. in the chicago area, amtrak trains is riding on infrastructure that hasn't been updated including switches. safety concerns on amtrak are at a premium. and now is not the time to reduce the amount of money we have made available for amtrak and for our needed infrastructure upgrades. we need to make investments in our tracks trains, stations and the rest of our transportation system. my amendment would take a step towards addressing that problem. all it does is restore capital investment grants to the level at which they were appropriated last year. this is a small step, but one that will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and help improve the mass transit systems that many of our citizens use each
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and every day. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. mr. diaz-balart: i claim time in opposition. this amendment would result in deep and frankly unsustainable reductions to f.a.a.'s account. it would have to suspend contracts that keep our air traffic flowing. the facilities would have to be closed and the communities would lose service. critical operation support staff would be furloughed or again laid off. and safety could be compromised. flights again would be canceled. therefore, i cannot support this offset and respectfully cannot support the gentleman's amendment. i would like to yield some time to the gentleman from north carolina. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. price: i thank the gentleman
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for yielding and i reluctantly oppose this amendment. the discussion we had earlier about this offset certainly pertains here. we cannot afford to make this kind of safety-related cut to the federal aviation administration's funding. the amendment is worthy and purpose. again funding for amtrak's capital accounts is woefully inadequate, but this is not the way to make -- there is no way to make it up within the confines of this bill. we are robbing peter to pay paul. what's wrong with this bill. inadequate allocation and no way to get funding for things we care about without doing equivalent damage somewhere else. it's an impossible dilemma. so what we need to do is do the responsible thing and get a budget agreement, get numbers we
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can work with and write a decent bill. in the meantime, this amendment while well intentioned is not acceptable and i urge rejection. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. dold: as we look at our frppings infrastructure investment is needed, and i urge adoption of the amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. . the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. for what purpose does does the gentleman from -- for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? >> i believe i have an amendment
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at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. lynch of massachusetts, page 12, line 25, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $25 million. page 44 line 13, after the dollar amount insert increased by $25 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman from massachusetts and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. lynch: what i'm trying to do in this amendment is to really address a wider problem in my congressional district. my district is -- surrounds the logan international airport in boston and what this amendment would do is remove $25 million
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from the f.a.a. budget and transfer it to rail. and the reason for that is because the f.a.a. has steadfastly refused to do part of their job in my district. i have tried to get them to come to the town of milton massachusetts to address the overflights in that area, the new next gen system, concentrates flight after flight a month over the town of milton, massachusetts. i requested them to meet with our neighbors, the people that i represent, just like everyone else represents their district and the f.a.a. has flatly refused. since they have refused to do part of the job we fund them for, i would take $25 million out of their budget because they aren't doing their job. all i'm doing is looking for an f.a.a. meeting and this is shameful. i would say their attitude
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towards my constituents, the people i work for has been utter contempt and disrespectful and i'm trying to cut their budget to get their attention. it's a sad statement of the way the f.a.a. operates. but my real issue is getting the f.a.a. to respond to my constituents. not about cutting their budget. i know the chairman has worked tremendously. would the chair and the ranking member help me just get the f.a.a. to respond by having a meeting in my district in the town of milton. i would withdraw my amendment and leave the money that you have wisely appropriated where it is. i'm just looking to get this agency this bureaucracy to respond to the people i represent. it's as simple as that, mr. chairman. and i yield. the chair: the gentleman from
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florida. mr. diaz-balart: i will tell the gentleman one of the responsibilities that we have is to make sure that we hold government accountable and i don't think it's acceptable to not get answers. so i look forward to work with the gentleman to make sure that we move to address those concerns of your community. i don't want to speak for the ranking member, but i know that i look forward to working with you to make sure that we get answers that you need to get. mr. price: will the gentleman yield? the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts controls the time. mr. lynch: i yield. mr. price: i appreciate the chairman's response. i will work with you. this isn't acceptable and will do our best to help you get the kind of response you need. mr. lynch: i thank the chairman and i thank the ranking member for your courtesy not only to
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me but to our constituents as well and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. does the gentleman seek to withdraw? mr. lynch: i agree to withdraw as a condition -- the chair: without objection. gentleman's amendment is withdrawn. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. dold of illinois, page 12, line 25, after the dollar amount, insert reduced by $200 million. page 13 line 7, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $200 million. insert increased by $200 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman
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from illinois and member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. dold: thank. i rise in support of an amendment to increase funding for capital investment grants to help our nation's mass transit rail systems. the bill as is cuts $200 million from the account. and while i recognize and as we heard from the chairman and ranking member, there's not really a good spot to take some of these additional funds from. i do think it is important that we talk about our infrastructure system especially our rail system. and as we look specifically in the greater chicago area, the chicago transit authority's rail system serves 725,000 riders each and every day and the met tra serves over 300,000 riders each and every day. over one million people are using these rail systems and
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again as we talked about before metra needs to find $13.4 billion over the next decade just to maintain the system in its current condition. that's why it's more important than ever before to find funds to maintain and rebuild our nation's infrastructure transportation system. we hear all the time from our constituents that we need jobs good high-paying jobs. frankly, transportation infrastructure system for manufacturers how do we move people around is absolutely critical to our economy. i saw i saw an estimate that said every additional minute of five minutes costs u.p.s. $100 million. we have switches in the chicago area that delay rail up to 15 minutes one way. that's 30 minutes a day and if
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you're a regular commuter, that's 10 nevada hours in a given month. 10 1/2 hours you could be more product i or spend time with your family or spend time doing homework with your children. this is something that we as a country, if we want to be more productive if we want tone courage more good high-paying jobs, we have to find a way to make sure we invest in our transportation infrastructure system. when we use this transportation infrastructure system if it goes away, we're talking about increased congestion at least i can tell you in the chicago area, of an additional 50%. we need an additional 29 lanes of traffic. what's the cost of that? we just don't have it. if we don't have this type of fund, the car in front of you could have been somebody that could have been sitting on a rail, could have been using mass transit. madam chair, this bill is a step backward for our nation's mass transit systems, not a step forward. instead of providing funds to maintain and improve world class mass transit system, we're
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instead taking money away, making it harder and harder for the public to find the funds needed to keep systems operational, much less improve them. a reliable and consistent stream of capital funding is essential for these systems. but this bill does not meet that need. my amendment would take a step toward addressing that problem and i recognize it's just a step. but i do believe and i am anxious to work with the chairman and ranking member and anxious to work with those in the transportation infrastruck schur committee to make sure we are coming up with outside -- infrastructure committee to make sure we are coming up with outside-the-box thinking about the transit system. it's vitell important -- vitally important for urban areas, vitally important for the nation's transportation hub which i would argue is the chicago area. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. diaz-balart: to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
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mr. diaz-balart: one has to respect and admire the knowledge and passion of mr. dold and these amendments he's doing. i'm sensitive to that. i look forward to working with him and i know that he will make sure that we work with him on these issues which i know that he's very passionate about and i think that he brings up that are very important. i respectfully have to oppose this amendment. this amendment would result in -- would result in breach of contract for air traffic control technology systems. in addition, it would result in staff layoffs which would again compromise safety system of i look forward to working with the gentleman to continue to work with him and he brings up some obviously very important points. but again respectfully, i must object to this amendment at this time.
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i yield to the ranking member of the subcommittee. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. price: i appreciate the gentleman's yielding. i want to echo his opposition to amendment but i also want to echo his praise for the reality check that the gentleman from illinois has provided us tonight. at various times in the course of the evening we've talked about tiger grants, we've talked about amtrak, we've talked about transit investments. all of which are underfunded in this bill. i'm also pleased to the chairman's expressed a willingness to cooperate going forward. i want to echo that on my part too. we do believe a better day will come and hopefully not only at the end of the fiscal year but soon where we get a budget agreement, we get better numbers and we're able to address each of these accounts. that the gentleman has highlighted. because he's exactly right about the need in all of these areas. the offset is not acceptable.
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it's even dangerous. for that reason i oppose the amendment. but the larger message is we've got to get a better budget number, we've got to revisit many of the accounts in this bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from illinois. mr. dold: how much time is remaining? the chair: the gentleman has a minute and a half left. mr. dold: thank you, madam chair. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for their thoughts. there's no question as we look at the debt we have, we have an $18.5 trillion debt in our country, that i do believe is jeopardizing our children's opportunity for the american dream. one of the things we have to talk about is how do we grow madam chairman. we grow i think, by creating this opportunity and environment where people want to come and put their businesses here becoming globally competitive. when entrepreneurs look at where to go and place their businesses one of the things they're going to look at is they're going to look at our
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transportation infrastructure system. we need to know how we're going to get our raw materials in and our finished product out if we want to be globally competitive and if we want to manufacture and i would argue that we do. so i recognize where the committee is, i also appreciate the chairman and ranking member's willingness to work with us going forward but we have to, each and every one of us, come together put our differences aside and invest in our infrastructure system so we can grow our economy and have greater dollars coming into the federal treasury so we can have these resources. with that, madam chair, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman jeeleds -- the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek
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recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. bridenstine of oklahoma. page 13, line 5, after the dollar amount insert increased by $250,000. page 13, line 7, after the dollar amount, insert decreased by $250,000. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the quelt from oklahoma and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oklahoma. mr. bridenstine: thank you, madam chair. madam chair the bridenstine-posey amendment transfers $250,000 from the finance and management activities to the office of commercial space transportation. s that small amount but it is extremely important if we are to support the booming commercial space flight industry. madam chairman, the f.a.a. office of commercial space
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transportation's mission is as follows. to ensure protection of the public, property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the united states during commercial launch or re-entry activities and to encourage, facilitate and promote commercial space flight transportation. to carry out this mission, a.s.t., as the office is known, is tasked with overseeing commercially licensed launches, test launches on ex-permal permit, licenses and permits for new vehicle designs, supporting nasa and commercial crew contractor, taking the lead role in coordinating space traffic at the white house's request and many other duties. over the past few year, the number of activities they have overseen has grown significantly yet funding and staffing levels have remained absolutely flat. just last month, the house of representatives passed the space act on an overwhelmingly
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bipartisan basis. that bill establishes a statutory and regulatory regime that provides stability and encourages private sector investment in order to facilitate the growth of commercial space activities. if we are passing legislation to encourage growth, we need to provide this office with increased resources to keep up. we rerye on commercial space -- on the commercial space sector for many things, reliable, frequent and inexpensive launches, communications, navigation and imaging satellites. services such as the internet telephone, television and radio that are staples of modern life. going forward, these companies whose goal is to provide -- going forward, there are companies whose goal is to provide space tours and services. there are also ventures planning missions to harvest precious resources from celestial bodies. this is just the tip of the iceberg for this growth industry. this is an industry that's constantly innovating.
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it's also an industry we have come to increasingly rely on. if a.s.t. doesn't get the additional resource, it could lead to slips of planned launch dates for some companies as the office is unable to process inspections, permits and licenses in a timely manner. on top of being a hindrance to this growth industry, it could also reduce the functionality and capabilities we take for granted in our everyday lives. this funding will give a.s.t. additional resources to accomplish its mission. as it -- as its work load continues to grow, i encourage the office of commercial space transportation to continue to work alongside industry in developing and supporting consensus safety standards that can streamline the inspection process. i appreciate chairman diaz-balart's leadership and his recognition of the importance of this office. i thank him for working with me on this amendment, particularly given the constraints he is under while crafting this appropriations bill. i urge my colleagues to support
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my amendment and the underlying legislation and with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves. who seeks time? the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. bridenstine: thank you. i understand we are in tough fiscal times, however, we need to ensure we do not strangle the unlimited potential of this oh commercial space flight industry, an important piece of this is ensuring the office of commercial space transportation can keep up with the growth of this burgeoning industry. again i urge support for this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to.
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the clerk will read. the clerk: page 15, line 16, facilities and equipment, airport and airway trust fund. $2,500000,000. research engineering and development airport and airway trust fund. $156,750,000. grants in aid for airports, liquidation of contract authorization limitation on obligations, airport and airway trust fund. $3,600,000,000. administrative provisions. section 110. none of the funds may be used to compensate in excess of 600 technical staff years. section 111, none of the funds shall be used to pursue guidelines requiring the airport sponsors. section 112, the administrator may reimburse amounts made available to satisfy 49 united states code 4174 -- 41742-a-1.
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amounts credited shall be credited to the appropriation current at the time of collection. section 114. fun of the funds shall be available for paying premium pay unless such employee actually performed work during the time corresponding to such premium pay. section 115. none of the funds may be obligated for an employee to purchase a store gift card through use of a government issued credit card. section 116. none of the funds may be obligated for retention bonuses without prior written approval. section 117. none of the funds made available may be used to implement any limitation on the ability of any owner of a private aircraft to obtain a blocking of that owner's aircraft registration number. section 118. none of the funds shall be available for salaries of more than nine political and presidential appointees in the
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federal aviation administration. section 119, none of the funds may be used to increase fees pursuant to 44721 of title 41 united states code. section 119-a. none of the funds may be used to close a regional operation center or reduce its services unless the administrator notifies the house and senate committees. section 119-b. none of the funds may be used to change weight restrictions at teeter bro airport in teeter bro, new jersey. federal aviation. federal highway administration. limitation on administrative expenses, highway trust fund, including transfer of funds. $426,100,000. federal aid highways, limitation on obligations, highway trust fund. $40,256,000,000. liquidation of contract
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authorization highway trust fund, $40995,000,000. administrate i provisions, federal highway administration. section 120. contingent upon enactment of authorization the secretary shall not distribute from the obligation limitation amounts authorized for administrative expenses. . section 121, funds received by the bureau of transportation statistics may be credited to the federal highways account. section 122, not less than 15 days prior to waiving any buy america requirement or federal aid highways projects the secretary shall make a notice on the intent to issue such waiver. section 123 none of the funds may be used to provide credit assistance unless the secretary provides notification in writing to the committees. section 124 section 127 of
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title 23 united states code as amended by adding at the end the following, m longer combination vehicles in idaho. section 125, section 31111-b 1-a of title 49 united states code is amended. section 126 exemption, section 31112 c-5 of title 49 united states code is amended. section 127, section 130-e 1 of title 23 united states code is amended, $220 million and inserting $350 million. federal motor safety administration safety operations and programs, limitation on obligations highway trust fund $259 million.
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motor carrier safety grants liquidation limitation on obligations highway trust fund, $313 million. administrative provisions federal motor safety carrier administration section 130, funds appropriated shall be subject to the terms and conditions in section 350 of public law 107-87. section 131 the federal motor carrier safety administration shall send notice of violations by certified mail. section 132, none of the funds may be used to implement or enforce sections 49 -- section 395.43-c and d of title 49 code of regulations and shall have no force on submissions on the report issued by the secretary unless the secretary and the inspector general review and
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determine that the final report meets the statutory requirements set forth. section 133 none of the funds limited under the heading motor carrier safety and operations and programs may be used to deny an application to renew a hazardous safety permit based on that carrier's rate unless the carrier submits a written declaration of actions taken. section 134, none of the funds may be used to develop any regulation that increases levels of minimum financial responsibility. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> i rise to offer an amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. cartwright. section -- strike section 134. the chair: the gentleman from pennsylvania and a member opposed each will control five
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minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman. mr. cartwright: i urge the adoption of my amendment which would allow the federal motor carrier safety to continue its ongoing work to improve safety and accountability in the trucking and bus industry. i do so out of a concern that we need to exhibit common sense in what we do. we need to be fiscally prudent. we need to promote safe highways in our nation and we need to recognize the importance of promoting personal responsibility and accountability. my amendment would strike a section of this bill that would halt the work toward issuing a rule that would make our highways safer for everyone by creating an incentive for motor carriers to make safety a greater priority. we have to allow the them to
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develop a rule to increase minimums for motor carriers which have not been updated in 35 years and thus have become outdated to the point of justlessness. it is simply common sense is the first point i make that we adjust for inflation. not adjusting for inflation for 5 years is not prudent and it makes no sense. and it allows carriers to travel on our nation's highways in a financially irresponsible manner, in a manner that would allow them not to be accountable for whatever harm they might cause. adjusting for inflation is common sense and also fiscally prudent. what happens, in this nation travel trailers travel around with $750,000 libet insurance
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and they are study that number. $750,000 is not enough money. just this morning in my district in northeastern pennsylvania, there was a horrendous truck and bus accident in which three people were killed and a dozen others were seriously injured. when three people are killed asking them -- their families to share $750,000 is not fiscally responsible and look who pays the difference. the people who pay the difference if somebody is killed or somebody is rendered a parapliegeic they are going to incur incredible amounts of medical bills and not going to be able to work. who picks it up, the social security system and medicare system and the public pays the bill when the trucking company doesn't have enough to pay for the damages.
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that's why it is fiscally prudent that we allow them to continue its important work and it's -- its important work that was mandated by the map 21 bill that required them to do this work. it also promotes safe highways, because if we raise insurance minimums up to modern and responsible levels, that means insurance companies will have to engage in actual real underwriting and go out from the home office and visit trucking companies to make sure they are acting safely responsibly. if you want to buy insurance at reasonable levels you have to act safely. and finally madam cheer this is about personal responsibility. if you don't have enough insurance, you get away without being personally responsible when these crashes happen. at this point, i reserve my
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time, but i yield to mr. price. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. price: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i commend him for offering this amendment. as he has stressed very effectively. this is simply irrational to freeze these claims where they were in the early 1980's and also defies our own body's directions to the.to look at this and to think about what future changes might be in order. this preempts this whole process, is that right? mr. cartwright: that's correct. i urge everyone to support my amendment to finish the important work of examining and developing a rule that is critical to preventing devastating trucking accidents and keeping our highways safe and secure for everyone. thank you, and i yield. the chair: the gentleman from iowa yields.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from iowa seek recognition? >> i rise in opposition. >> i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: without objection. >> i rise to oppose this amendment. as is frequently the case in washington, d.c.,, the proposed rules requiring truckers to increase their liability insurance is a solution in search of a problem. the provision included in the bill must remain and must remain because it protects job creators. when you consider that 99.9% of crashes are already covered by existing insurance requirements you can see that increasing insurance insurance at the cost of jobs is not a credible solution. safety is important. we all know that. and we want to make sure our roadways are safe but the department of transportation regularly admits that raising the costs does not improve
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safety. the d.o.t.'s study shows a revelation of the crippling costs and there may be more effective ways to reduce costs. if the proposed regulations went into effect our smaller trucking companies in iowa and around the country would be unable to absorb the increased costs and would threaten their ability to stay in business. we are trying to fix the mistakes that were made by so-called washington exclusions -- solutions. mr. cartwright: we have the opponents of my amendment speaking out of both sides of
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their mouths if they say it's so rare that a crash will cost more than the minimum insurance, then what that means that the expense of insuring against that minimal risk has to be minimal itself. these are the same people saying there will be a crippling insurance premium. it doesn't make sense. >> i yield to mr. perry. mr. perry: i oppose this amendment. this will not improve highway safety. what incentive does it create. how does increasing the insurance requirement improve safety? the agency's own data shows they cover damages more than 99% of all crashes. but to the gentleman's point my friend from pennsylvania, the agency is planning on tying
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these requirements to medical inflation and results in increases in 500% or more. the height of irony. they were driving the cost of medical inflation down -- that's another whole story. the fact that industry has a remarkable safety record compared to all commercial vehicles. motor coaches average 20 fatalities per year and school buses five. that is not to minimize those losses but in a highway environment, the d.o.t. study didn't talk to insurance carriers about the impacts of increasing insurance or whether there is a need for it. this is a solution that is looking for a problem, a problem that does not exist. i urge the members to vote no on this amendment. i yield back.
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the chair: the gentleman from iowa. >> i urge my members to vote no. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it and the amendment is not agreed to. mr. cartwright: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment will be offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania will be postponed. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 39, line 16, section 135, none of the funds under the heading motor safety contrary operations and programs shall pay for costs with respect to design of a wireless roadside inspection program until the secretary certifies to the
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committees such program does not conflict with nonexisting federal electronic screening systems. national highway traffic $150 million of which $20 million shall remain available through september 30, 2017. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? mr. gosar: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. gosar, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $1 mill ion,,000. insert increased by $500,000. goes zpwose this seeks to bolster funds for the national railroad passenger corporation or amtrak and i'm a strong proponent of government oversight and the regulatory work of the inspector general
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should be supported within any agency of the federal government. today given the financial record of amtrak through its history compounded with recent safety failures, it is clear that the objective oversight of the inspector general is needed for this agency now more than ever. . since the inspector general act was passed into law, the i.g. community has saved taxpayers billions of dollars and uncovered countless examples of wrongdoing in the federal government. the inspector generals community has done good work. the committee has noted the good work of the o.i.g. notes, the o.i.g.'s efforts have resulted in valuable studies. these studies have been in a
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number of areas including food and beverage service, capital plan, overtime, and fraud. i commend the committee for the work they've done. this amendment is in line with the high value the committee places on the thorough work of the o.i.g. and will ensure additional accountability and transparency with the act. there's a need to reform and improve amtrak. a valuable first step in that report is projecting the valuable information that the o.i.g. is qualified to produce. give the o.i.g. the resources they need to identify the waste fraud and abuse in a government agency so desperately needing reform. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. does any member seek time in opposition? the gentleman from arizona. mr. gosar: i yield back.
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the chair: the yes son the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. clerk will read. the clerk: page 40, line 15 operations and research liquidation of contract authorization, limitation on obligations highway trust fund.
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$125 million. highway traffic safety grants liquidation of contract authorization limitation on obligations highway trust fund, $561,500,000. administrative provisions, national highway traffic safety administration, section 140 $130,000 shall be made available to the national highway traffic safety administration. section 141, the limitations on obligations for the programs of the national highway traffic safety administration shall not apply. section 142. none of the funds shall be used to implement section 404 of title 23 united states code. section 143. none of the funds may be used to obligate funds for the national highway traffic safety administration's national roadside survey. section 144. none of the funds may be used to mandate global positioning
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system tracking and private passenger motor vehicles. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman -- >> what page are we on? the chair: page 44, line five. >> just in time. i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: clerk will read. the clerk: page 44, line five -- page 44, line 10 federal
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railroad administration safety and operations $186 7 ,000. -- $186,780,000. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: clerk will read. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. garrett of new jersey. page 44, line 13, after the dollar amount insert increasededly $16,930,000. page 52, line 16, after the dollar amount insert reduced by $83 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman from new jersey and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. garrett: i thank the chair. i rise today to offer an amendment that would bolster our nation's rail safety and operations. first, i would like if thank the gentleman from florida for his dedication and important work on this bill. mr. chairman, the number of train derailments and accidents in our local communities is a growing concern among my constituents and americans all
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across the country. in the first two months of 2015, the first two months of this year there were 18 amtrak accidents as well as recent oil train derailments in west virginia and in north carolina. most recently, mr. chairman an amtrak train crashed in philadelphia killed eight people and injured dozens more. in new jersey alone, there are 2,400 miles of freight lines and other 1,000 passenger rail miles and we must ensure mr. chairman, that these existing lines are operating safety. so what do we have here? my amendment fully funds the federal railroad administration safety and operations account without, without increasing spending in the underlying bill. the f.r.a.'s safety and operation account provides funding for the f.r.a.'s safety program activities related to passenger and freight railroads. so how do we do this? by re-allocating a mere 4% of
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funding from capital investment grant, we can fund the safe operation of our nation's trains at the president's requested levels system of mr. speaker, it would not -- you would not build a new house or a new section onto the house if your roof was caving in. so we should not be adding on to these systems if they are caving in or failing. so why are we funding new projects before we ensure that our current rail lines have enough dollars, have enough funding for their safety? my amendment would simply prioritize safety and maintenance of our existing infrastructure over the ribbon cutting ceremonies associated with systems expansion. in light of these recent upsurge in deadly rail accidents, now is the time to adequately fund safety and the operation of our trains. additionally with our rising national debt it is very important that we remain fiscally responsible and do what? prioritize. prioritize how we spend our constituents' hard-earned tax dollars. that is why in conclusion my
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amendment does not increase spending but only prioritizes a commonsense directive. so i urge my colleagues to support my amendment to fund train safety and i reserve the plans of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. diaz-balart: mr. chairman, while i know, i am absolutely certain that the gentleman from new jersey's heart is in the right place, i unfortunately cannot support the offset. the committee carefully calculated the new start numbers -- calculated the new numbers at the beginning of the fiscal year. i i'm a firm believer that once you sign a grant, once you make that agreement you should honor it. this would impact those signed agreements. so i reluctantly oppose this
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amendment. with that mr. chairman, i'd like to yield the time to the ranking member. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. price: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i want to echo his opposition to this amendment although i do comment -- commend mr. garrett for his focus on safety an operations and i too would like to raise that appropriation to the request level. that's a good objective. there are a couple of problems here though. one is that because of differences in outlay rates, to pick up $17 million on the safety and operations side you have to cut $83 million from the transit new starts. that has to do with differences in outlay rates but the fact is, it's a substantial cut. and these new starts, i remind colleagues, the new starts in the bill are already $1.3
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billion be below the president's request. they're $198 million below what we had this year. these are badly underfunded items but -- so we simply again are robbing peter to pay paul. but i simply, because of the disproportionate impact here and the fact that new starts are already so underresourced, i reluctantly oppose this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida. the gentleman -- mr. diaz-balart: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey. mr. garrett: two points. first, i understand the gentleman's opposition to procedural grounds, as far as the difference in outlays and what have you. but i have to be honest with you when you go back home to talk to your district and say you're trying to do something for safety as we are in this case, and you say, well the reason we can't do this is the
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procedural aspect of outlays versus the actual amount of money going in and the actual amount of money being cut and so on and so forth, you go through the rubric and maintenance we use around here and the buzzwords on the floor to troy to explain thing, the people back home, rightfully so their eyes glaze over. they say, those are your rules, not ours. why don't you just get something done? what they're asking to get done is rail safety. that's what this amendment does. i want to end with one quote. back in 2010, the head of the f.d.a. at that time, administrator peter rogoff chastised local transit agencies for promoting rail construction for so many new rail lines. he pointed out agencies were unable to maintain the rail lines they already had. the -- they had estimated that rail suffered $60 million in maintenance backlog and the backlog was growing even then he said if you can't afford to
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operate the systems you have, why does it make sense for us to partner with you in new expansions? that's a great question. if they can't fix up what's already out there and all the problems on the rail lines out there on important things like safety then why on earth are we spending all these tens of millions of dollars on new programs that we know that they're not going to be able to maintain as well. let's do first things first. as i said in my example before if your roof is collapsing on your house, you don't add a new deck or put on a new pool you don't put in a new paved driveway, you do don't b yo -- you don't do anything else, you repair the roof and everything else comes next. let's maintain safety first and foremost so everyone riding on the rails can feel confident they're operating right and then after that let's come back here to the floor and fix up the other funding mechanism for new programs and what have you and
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go forward. right now let's make sure that our constituents back home can feel confident every tie -- every time they ride on a transit system, be it a bus or train or something else that they know that it is adequately funded and taken care of and maintains. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expire. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the noes have it. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? mr. garrett: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18 further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey will be postponed. clerk will read. the clerk: page 44, line 15, railroad research and development, $39,100,000. railroad rehabilitation and improvement financing program. the secretary is authorized to issue direct loans pursuant to
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sections 501 through 504 of the railroad revitalization and regulatory reform act of 1976. operating grants to the national railroad passenger corporation. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from nevada seek recognition? ms. titus: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. titus of nevada, page 45, line 15, after the dollar amount, insert reduced by $1 million increased by $1 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287 the gentlewoman from nevada and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from nevada. ms. titus: i rise with a simple amendment, one meant to shed light on the inadequate investments that are being made in our nation's passenger rail service. the bill before us appropriates nearly $16 billion for aviation
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over $40 billion for our roads, over $10 billion for public transit but just $1.1 billion for our nation's passenger rail service. i represent las vegas, where we import everything from tourists to lobsters, so we certainly understand the importance of transportation mobility. you know, it's interesting, many international and domestic travelers alike are shocked to learn, when they're coming to las vegas, that a major metropolitan city, home to more than two million residents, and playground and boardroom to over 42 million visitors a year, we just don't have access to passenger rail service. . they face the sad reality when traveling to las vegas. from los angeles, for example,
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you would have to take a seven-hour train ride that drops you off in kingman, arizona at 1:30 in the morning and find the bus station which is four miles away get on a bus at 4:00 in the morning to travel another three hours to downtown las vegas. that's just crazy. the last amtrak train departed at the back of the plaza hotel in may of 1997, bound for los angeles. a lot has changed since the late 1990's. over the last 17 years, southern nevada's population has grown by a million new residents and 10 million more residents travel to las vegas, putting enormous strain on our highways and the airport which is among the top 10 busiest airports in the country. more than 42,000 vehicles crossed i-15 between california
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and nevada. if you have traveled along that busy stretch of road, you know the kind of traffic nightmares that you might encounter. i recently spoke with an irle pilot who makes the short flight and he remarks that you can't get lost all you have to follow the red brake lights on i-15. we can and must do better. this isn't just about las vegas. cities like phoenix, arizona, nashville tennessee columbus, ohio and boise i'd hoe don't have passenger rail service either. in addition there is no direct rail service between major metro areas like houston and dallas and kansas city and oklahoma city. i believe that expanding rail service to unserved communities like those in southern nevada should be a priority. but unfortunately this
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legislation before us does not really get us there. than at the end of april i organized a round table to discuss the need to restore passenger service to las vegas and i was really surprised by the high level of interest from local stakeholders. we had participants from our state and local transportation authorities the gaming and hotel industry the chamber of commerce, labor unions, economic development organizations, all in agreement that southern nevada should have passenger rail service as part of our long-term economic viability plan. this type of development is a regional and should be a national priority. a lot of attention has been paid to the northeast corridor where travelers frequent amtrak service along the east coast. we should not forget that the railroad built the west and still today remains a critical piece of our transportation network.
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china is investing $128 million in rail in 2015 alone. india, $137 billion over the next five years and yet we are investing $1.1 billion. mr. chairman, since this amendment really has no monetary impact i would ask that you accept this and it's my hope that we recognize this mode of transportation that is so tied to our nation's history and we can continue to work together to see that it gets the attention and support that it deserves. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. any member seeking time snfer the gentlelady from nevada. ms. titus: thank you for your time and consideration and i hope that together we can work to be sure that passenger rail service is expanded throughout the country and especially in the southwest. i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from nevada.
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those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? mr. brooks: i have an amendment ending in number 19 at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. brooks of alabama, page 45 strike line 6 and all that follows through page 47 line three. the chair: the gentleman from alabama and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. mr. brooks: in the past few months america's debt blew through the $18 million mark. america pays over $200 billion per year in debt service which is more than four times what the federal government spends on highways bridges and interstates each year. america's comptroller general warns that america's deficits and debts are unsustainable.
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the nonpartisan congressional budget office warns that our debt service cost is on a path to increase by another $600 billion within a decade to more than $800 billion per year. that's more than america spends each year on national defense. the c.b.o. also warns that within a decade if current trends continue, america will face yearly trillion dollar deficits in perpetuity. admiral mike mullen's testimony debt is america's quote, greatest threat to our national security, end quote. as a result of america's debt, in a few short years america's uniformed military personnel numbers will be the smallest since before world war i. america's navy will have the smallest operational naval vessels since world war i and
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air force will have the smallest operational aircraft in its history. debt, not our enemies, is stripping america of its ability to defend itself. in sum washington's financial irresponsibility -- this house of representatives financial irresponsibility is pushing america into a bankruptcy that will destroy the american dream for our children and grandchildren. it is in this setting that i ask this house of representatives to be financially responsible by supporting my amendment that eliminates federal government operating subsidies of amtrak, thus forcing amtrak to operate in the black. how bad is the amtrak subsidy problem? the congressional research service reports that from 1971 to 2015, federal amtrak subsidies totalled $78 billion
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in constant 2015 dollars. in fiscal year 2014, amtrak had a net loss of $1.1 billion. who paid for that loss? america's children and grandchildren. that's who. how so? because america does not have the money and had to borrow every penny of that $1.1 billion, thus burdenening americans for generations to come. a business that relies on subsidies and tax dollars has little incentive to operate efficiently and effectively or as safely. it is appalling that the federal government undermines and threatens the future in order to subsidize amtrak service that would be self-sufficient if riders stop mooching off of americans and pay for the actual
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cost of their ride. amtrak supporters claim that amtrak will go out of business if it is not subsidized by american taxpayers. that's bunk unsupported by fact. the same woe as me argument was made by freight train subsidies yet when freight rail was sold to private investors, freight rail did not go out of business and still operates today. similarly, the federal government does not operate or subsidize national airlines or national bus services, yet airlines and buses operate profitably in the private sector despite federal government subsidies for amtrak, their competitor. just as airlines and bus services operate without subsidies, amtrak would do the same if the house of representatives has the courage to wean amtrak from the taxpayer nip will. after more than 40 years, it's
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time to stop the runaway amtrak train and end their subsidized rides on the backs of american taxpayers. i urge adoption of my amendment to do just that. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from alabama reserves. any member seeking time in opposition? the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i seek time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. price: i rise in strong opposition to this amendment which purely and simply would end inner city passenger rail for our nation. and i remind colleagues there isn't a single mode of transportation in this country that is not subsidized. contrary to what we have just heard, to make the case, i would like to yield to a distinguished member of the authorizing committee representative brown. ms. brown: when i was coming up i used to like this television
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show "robin hood." and my colleagues practice what i call reverse robin hood, robbing from the working people and the poor people and the transit people to give tax breaks to the rich. just a few weeks ago the house republicans passed a bill cutting taxes by $269 billion -- i guess that didn't affect the deficit for their wealthy friends, but can't find the $2 billion that we need for amtrak. the cuts proposed in this amendment would simply force to shut down, strand millions of rail passengers, disrupt commute erp operations and add to our already congested roads and airports, eliminate over 20,000 jobs nationwide and jeopardize
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local economist and businesses that depend on amtrak business. amtrak provides the majority of all inner city passenger rail service in the united states where more states and localities across america turn to passenger rail to meet the transportation needs of our citizens. amtrak has done an excellent job based on the fact that 9/11 when we was attacked. when we had hurricane katrina amtrak was the only way we could move people out of harm's way by delivering -- evacuating and delivering food, water and supplies.
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amtrak has made significance improvements in its system over the last several years. increased ridership numbers. played a vital role in disaster recovery and has an ambitious agenda for future growth. i encourage all members to vote against this ill-will and ill thoughtout amendment. and i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. mr. price: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from alabama is recognized. mr. brooks: there is no factual basis for the gentlelady's comments has been made. socialism does not work and we need to get passengers off the backs of all taxpayers including those of the poor. let's set them free. the chair: the gentleman from alabama yields back. mr. price: mr. chairman, i move
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to strike the last word. i yield to my colleague from pennsylvania, mr. fattah. mr. fattah: the fact of the matter is notwithstanding what was offered to the house as a picture of america, we actually live in the greatest country in the world. we have the strongest economy where -- we are the wealthiest country and no country based on the i.m.f. that would trade our position vis-a-vis debt to wealth ratio. i hear the gentleman saying woe is america and we can't afford to subsidize rail. there is no form of transportation that is not subsidized. we don't subsidize airplane travel this is nonsensical. the fact of this bill itself outlines some of our country's
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airline industry. but i want to talk about amtrak. said that there is a $1 billion subsidy and somehow we can't afford that, for the last year, i want to remind this house that for each and every month we have been in afghanistan, we have been spending $2 billion a week for well over a decade as a nation. the idea that we can't afford to have a first-rate passenger rail system defies logic. it's a matter of political will. we need to make a decision about america's place in the world and our economy is dependent on our ability to transport not just freight but human beings and amtrak is critical for that. i hope this house will reconsider this thrust of the majority to move away from passenger rail. i heard some talk from the
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gentleman that we have to stop this runaway train and we stopped to stop the train in philadelphia, and if we made the investment, there would be people alive today. we need to make our country forward. it's not about political philosophy. and if we want to make our economy work, we need to make amtrak work and do that through some of the efforts on this bill today. i yield back. . mr. price: i thank the gentleman for his wise words and yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. mr. brooks: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 further proceedings
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will be postponed. clerk will read. the clerk: $850 million. the chair: clerk will suspend. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? >> mr. chairman i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. corrine brown of florida, page 47 line 11, after the dollar amount, insert increased by $861,500,000. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i reserve a point of order on the gentlewoman's amendment. the chair: the point of order is reserved. ms. brown: thank you, mr. speaker. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 28 , the gentlewoman and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida. ms. brown: my amendment will increase capital grants to amtrak by $861 million this will bring the total funding for amtrak in the bill to $2
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billion. equal to amtrak's fiscal 2016 budget request to congress. this bill as if it wasn't bad enough, cut $290 million from amtrak capital program which is used to repair and replace aging infrastructure on the northeast corridor and -- including 140-year-old bridges and tunnels and implement positive train control, according to the national transportation safety board would have prevented the recent amtrak derailment in philadelphia. according to the april, 2015, report to congress, at the current rate of available funding it would take 300 years to replace all the bridges on the northeast corridor as well as the time frame in which access would simply be shut
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down. the list of critical needs extends far beyond bridges and tunnels. major portions of amtrak electrical power system to this -- today date back to 1930. according to the commission $21.1 billion is needed to achieve a state of good repair on the corridor. $8.7 billion is what is needed to address critical infrastructure needs over the next five years. we cannot point to the recent amtrak derailment and say that it was directly caused by a lack of investment. that is true, but we know from the ntsb that it was preventable had positive train control been installed on the section of track. amtrak includes $36.4 million in
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their $2 billion fiscal year 2015 budget request to congress. amtrak testified at a hearing in the transportation and infrastructure committee yesterday that it's been provide -- if provided adequate funding they would have been able to implement positive train controls sooner. the impact of this tragic accident could also have been lessened had the republicans -- had the republican-controlled congress not denied amtrak's request for funding to replace passenger cars that were over -- that were 1975 cars with newer cars. at this time i yield to mr. fattah of philadelphia. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. fattah: i rise in support of this amendment. i think it's critically important that we understand
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that the president requested an increase in capital allotments for amtrak. not only was that not honored, we actually went with the wisdom of the majority, we actually cut last year's number by $250 million plus. this is a move in the wrong direction for our country and i hope that through the gentlelady's amendment we can reverse that. i stand in support of it. i hope that the majority would allow it to proceed to a vote. thank you. the chair: the gentlelady from florida. ms. brown: i reserve. the chair: the gentlelady reserves. mr. diaz-balart: the amendment proposes an increase in budget authority. the amendment is not in order under section 3-d-3 section 5114th congress which states the following. it should not be in order to consider an amendment to a
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general appropriations bill unless considered en bloc with another amendment or amendments proposing equal or greater decrease in such budget authority pure student clause 2-f of rule 21. the amendment proposes an increase in budget authority in the bill. so i ask a ruling from the chair. the chair: does any member wish to speak on a point of order? ms. brown: yes, sir. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. brown: just a few short weeks ago house republicans passed a bill cutting taxes by $269 billion for the wealthiest -- for their wealthiest friends yet we can't find $2 billion for amtrak to make it safe? my friend from florida
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unacceptable. shame. the chair: does the gentlelady wish to withdraw her amendment? or the gentlelady needs to restrain her remarks to the point of order. ms. brown: that's my point. we cut $269 billion and we can't find $2 billion to make america amtrak, safe? that's the point. the chair: the chair is prepared to rule. the gentleman from florida is -- makes a point of order that the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from florida violates section 3-d-3, proposing a net increase in the pending bill. as persuasively asserted by the gentleman from florida, the amendment proposes a net increase in the budget and the amendment is not in order.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from alabama seek recognition? >> i have an amendment ending in -- mr. brooks: i have an amendment ending in number 21 at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: page 47 strike line four and all that follows through page eight. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. mr. brooks: thank you, mr. chairman. my previous amendment, brook 19, my first amendment, strikes $288.5 million in operating subsidies for amtrak. this second amendment which is brooks number 21 strikes capital and debt service subskies that total $850 million per year to get to the point where we can strike all of taxpayer subsidies for amtrak. i would rely on the arguments previously made with respect to my first amendment to support the second amendment. i would add however, that i heard some comments about the
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safety associated with amtrak. i would emphasize at this point that if you want safety with rail service, probably the best thing to do is put it in the private sector and eliminate amtrak altogether. look at airlines. air carriers. they're private sector, much safer than amtrak. look at buses. private sector. safer than amtrak. and i would submit that if lives are what concerns the opponents to these amendments, that they would propose putting amtrak into private hands in order to have the same kind of safety record that we have with buses, air carriers and other modes of private transportation. mr. chairman, at this point, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from alabama reserves. the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i rise to claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman rises to claim time in opposition. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes in opposition to the amendment. mr. price: i strongly oppose this amendment which like the gentleman's previous amendment would essentially end passenger
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rail service in this country. it's just that drastic. it's also targeting passenger rail in a way that is -- obscures the fact that every mode of transportation in this country is subsidized, it's in the public interest to maintain diverse modes of transportation that serve our various transportation needs and our various population centers. amtrak provides an invaluable service to this country. 500 destinations in 46 states, connecting small communities that don't have access to air service. amtrak is popular with the american people. it's increasingly being taken advantage of. in the last 11 years, 10 con sec ty years record ridership serving nearly 32 million passengers last year. without amtrak service in the northeast corridor where would we be? there'd be virtual gridlock at new york's airports. but it's not just the northeast
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corridor. i come from a state that had the insight years ago to invest in state amtrak service and now amtrak is the preferred mode of transportation for thousands of people between raleigh and charlotte. with three full routes a day in each direction. this is an irresponsible amendment. it will eliminate thousands of jobs, harm local economies and it would violate labor agreements. there's so much wrong with this. i urge its rejection. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from alabama. mr. brooks: mr. chairman i would sub jit -- submit that the argument that this would end rail service is absolutely false and is not supported by history. nothing in history supports the gentleman's argument. however well intentioned. the evidence is clear. freight rail, same kind of argument made, subsidies for ended, it went into the private sector, it survives and thrives
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today there is the argument that buses and air carriers are somehow or other subsidized. i submit what we're talking about there are user fees and there are gasoline taxes and diesel taxes that pay for those roads that buses use and there are air passenger charges that pay for the cost of those airports that air carriers use. so with that as a backdrop i would submit that it's time for amtrak passengers to pay their own way. it is time for amtrak passengers to quit riding on the backs of other taxpayers. they have the ability to pay their own way. the rest of the country is expected to pay their own way when they travel. and as such, i would ask this body to adopt my amendment. i yield back the remainder of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from alabama those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair the ayes have it.
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the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18 further proceedings on the amendment offered by this -- by the gentleman from alabama will be postponed. chloric will read. the clerk: page 49 line 9, administrative provisions, federal railroad administration. section 150. the secretary may receive and expend cash and utilize spare parts from nonunited states government sources to repair damages. section 151. none of the funds provided to the national railroad passenger corporation may be used to fund any overtime costs in excess of $35,000 for any individual employee. federal transit administration. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise? the clerk: federal transit administration -- administrative expenses $322,920,000.
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the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. langevin: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: the -- the chair: the clerk will report. the clerk: after the dollar amount insert decreased by $2 million. page 5 , 13 after the dollar amount insert increased by $2 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman from rid and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island. mr. langevin: i yield myself such time as i rise in support of my amendment. older adults and people with disabilities rely on public transit to live, learn and get to work and access recreation in their communities. the training dollars made available will help increase mobility for people with disabilities. by providing this assistance to our transit systems and
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services we make sure they wk more accessible. f.t.a. has a long history of working with ease terse seals the national association of aging and others to provide training and technical assistance to the transit industry. people with disabilities and older adults and imperative for this work to continue as more people age and more people with disabilities seek to live as independently as possible. now in order to realize this goal f.t.a. needs adequate resources to support this technical assistance activities. to that end my amendment will increase funding by $2 million for the f.t.a. technical, assistance and training. the exact amendment last year to restore f.t.a. technical assistance increased to $5
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million. my amendment will restore the funds back to the f.y. 2015 of $5 million. with that, mr. speaker, i ask that my colleagues support this amendment which will provide a world of benefit to all those that it serves. thank you for the consideration and i reserve. i thank my colleagues for their consideration. i urge passage of the amendment and with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from rhode island yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from rhode island. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the amendment is agreed to. clerk will read. the clerk: page 51 line 12, transit formula grants liquidation of contract authorization, limitation on
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authorization, $9 billion. transit research $26 million. technical assistance and training $3 million. capital investment grants $1 billion. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? >> submit an amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. grothman. page 156, line 15, after the dollar amount insert increased by $230 million. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287 the gentleman from wisconsin and a member opposed each will control five minutes. mr. grothman: as you know this budget is on task to balance the
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budget years down the road but we should be looking to cut spending. you look at things that the federal government is paying for that should be done locally and one of those things is these new capital improvements on mass transit projects. they do not get the ridership that justifies these projects and we would not be doing these projects or applying for these projects or building these projects if they had to pay money themselves. the only reason these things go away is the federal government is paying for them and has no money. this proposal will bring back down the funding on this line to what the appropriations committee wanted only two years ago. and for whatever reasons and negotiations this amount went up last year but i don't think it's too much to ask that this house, not zero out this line and you would argue that we shouldn't be doing this at all but go back to
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the levels of 2013 especially given the huge amount of debt that is being piled up at this time. the chair: the gentleman from wisconsin reserve? mr. grothman: yes. the chair: any member -- the gentleman from florida. mr. diaz-balart: i claim time in opposition. the committee calculated the numbers to be able to accommodate this. and at the beginning of the fiscal year and again, as i stated before i'm a firm believer that once you sign an agreement we should honor that. this reduction would impact those signed agreements and reluctantly oppose the gentleman's amendment. and i have to reluctantly oppose the gentleman's amendment. the chair: the gentleman from
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reserve? the gentleman from north carolina. mr. price: i would like to echo his opposition to the amendment. i have just retrieved here a list of you start projects that under the present funding levels of the bill, probably aren't going to be able to be addressed. we are talking about the west side project in los angeles, san diego, denver baltimore, washington, d.c. area, the maryland national capital purple line minneapolis, fort worth. these are ready to go. these are ready to go with strong support in their communities and strong impact on moving people and providing jobs. it's just unthinkable that we would cut this further. transit is extremely important mode of transportation and many of our cities and suburban areas too. and the bill is inadequate.
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we need to find ways to make it adequate going forward. but this amendment would move exactly in the wrong direction. so i urge its defeat and yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. groggetgrogget all fine and good to -- mr. grothman: good to move forward and whenever we start seeing a spending item, it's time to move forward. and i think what we have to do here is i can understand if we made commitments and i understand how people of goodwill would not want this amendment. this amendment doesn't pass, we have to make doubly certain that a year from now we have a dramatic reduction here. if there are any projects that are important that local unit of government can fund it. there's no sure way to overspend than have the federal government
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give grants to local government that they would never dream of spending themselves and that is what is going on here. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from wisconsin. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin seek recognition? the amendment is not agreed to. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 52 line 17, grants to the washington metro area transit authority of $100 million. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. mica: i have an amendment at the desk, page 53, line 11. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. mica of
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florida. the chair: pursuant to resolution 287 the gentleman from florida and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the gentleman is recognized. mr. mica: this is a simple amendment that strikes a waiver that was granted to the washington metropolitan area transit authority. and it's a waiver that has been in place for several years. it waives the requirement for them to complete installation of cellular service in the tunnels of the metro system in washington, d.c., that waiver allows them to continue to receive federal funds but not have made the installation. now, it's funny that congressional staffers said, mr. mica, why are you doing this? i'm doing this because as the
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chairman of a subcommittee of transportation oversight, i had to conduct a hearing after the january 12 deadly incident in the washington area metro. you may recall at lenfant plaza on the yellow line there was an incident that smoke filled the tunnel, a passenger train was left outside of the station. and i might say that back in 2008 we set up a requirement that we have at the stations within one year of metro, cellular service and four years later, the entire system. they were going from 2008 to 2012 to complete the system. they never completed the system. one individual died. others were injured. we disrupted service. it was a day from hell in
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washington, d.c.,. they never completed the job. they said they were going to complete the job right after 2012. they did not complete the job. they said it would be done in 2015. last time i checked it is 2015. and won't be done in 2015. they won't sit down with the carriers who will install this equipment and it's really at no cost to metro. i talked to mr. connolly, the gentleman from virginia and mrs. comstock and mr. hoyer, the gentleman from from maryland and others. we have had all had it with metro no complying with this. this waiver was put in to give them the opportunity to comply and they haven't complied. it's in here again and i'm offering this amendment to take it out. i would be glad to yield to the chairman for comment.
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the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. diaz-balart: i thank the gentleman for yielding to me. when the gentleman from florida is talking about this issue, i think all of us should be very concerned. i will tell you i think that the gentleman from florida has been reasonable and has tried to get folks to do what what they were supposed to do and have not done it. i want to let the gentleman from florida know that i'm looking forward and am committed to making sure that this issue is solved one way or another and i'm hoping it's solved in a nice, positive way. but otherwise, i want to let the gentleman from florida know that i will be working with him to make sure that we hold folks accountable. mr. mica: again i am willing to work with everyone.
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again, i have had to conduct oversight over a tragedy that could have and should have been prevented. here's the latest headline. can you hear me now in a metro tunnel? the answer is not yet. i would also yield to mr. connolly. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. connolly: mr. chairman, i sympathesize deeply with the concerns expressed from my friend and colleague mr. mica and metro is committed to working with the wireless carriers to ensure seamless coverage. i appreciate his willingless to withdraw this amendment so as not to jeopardize safety improvements under way at metro and the federal commitment that has been reduced but matching by our state partners. the january incident underscored the urgent need to have working
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communications. while faulty electrical wiring was to blame, a breakdown in communications led to passengers being stranded in dangerous conditions aboard that yellow line train for an extended period of time. it wasn't just public safety personnel who experienced problems, stranded riders had spotty or no cellular service in the tunnel. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? mr. price: i claim time in opposition to allow -- the chair: the gentleman from virginia has yielded. mr. connolly: i thank my friend from north carolina. tragically, one rider from my home state died as a result of
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smoke inhilings and others required hospitalization this was and remains an unacceptable situation and i and others are committed to working with the the f.t.a., metro and our regional partners to ensure corrective actions are taken to restore public confidence. i would note for my colleagues, the current federal law includes language requiring metro riders to have underground access to wireless telecommunications services. unfortunately, they have lagged behind again as my friend from florida has indicated. congress approved that requirement as part of the passenger rail and investment improvement act of 2008. one year later, as required by the law, the wireless providers did establish service in the 20 busiest underground rail
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stations. congress has granted an extension to on install wireless service to the tunnels and the rest of the service because metro and the providers have run into delays. scheduling work while trains are not running improvement factors. however they continue to work work on meeting this requirement however at a glacial pace. they are motivated to complete this work as it upgrades its own radio service. metro is an essential component of this region's network moving hundreds of thousands of commuters every day, including a significant portion of federal employees. it also serves as america's subway, transporting 12 million visitors across the country to the nation's capital each year. it's critical that we maintain this bipartisan commitment to
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match local and state funding so that metro can continue working with the ntsb and f.t.a. on its critical safety upgrades. mr. mica is right and all of us from the national capital region agree with him and i pledge upon withdrawal of this amendment that we will work with mr. mica to ensure that metro meets deadlines at a much more expeditious pace than has been the case in the past. again, i thank my friend from north carolina for yielding and i thank mr. mica for his leadership. i yield back. the chair: would the gentleman from north carolina rise -- >> would the gentleman from north carolina yield? the chair: does the gentleman -- mr. price: i'm happy to yield. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. 3450eu ka: i want to thank mr. connolly, mr. comstock and others and the chairman particularly for working on this. i think we have gotten the
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attention of the washington area metropolitan transit authorities. we have an agreement to bring the parties together as a result of this pending amendment and that said, if it does not go through, i can assure you we will find a way to put this waiver in at this time, though i will ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment and bring the parties together and hopefully commonsense and good faith will prevail. the chair: without objection, the amendment is withdrawn. mr. price: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk, mr. chairman. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. connolly of virginia. page 52, line 21, after the dollar amount, insert increased by $50 million.
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the chair: the gentleman from florida, for what purpose does to -- for what purpose do you seek recognition? mr. diaz-balart: i reserve a point of order on the amendment. the chair: the gentleman's poifert is reserved. pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentleman from virginia and a member opposed each will kohl five minutes. -- will control five minutes. mr. connolly: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise to offer an amendment to restore full funding to america's subway, the washington metropolitan area transit authority or metro. let me remind my colleagues, this is not like the traditional transit or capital funding under the department of transportation. the passenger rail investment improve act of 2008 specifically authorized $150 million annual federal commitment for 10 years and congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion for the past six years to fulfill that. it was a republican initiative,
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initiated and authored by my predecessor, republican member tom davis of virginia. as required by law the federal funding is matched, dollar for dollar, with $150 million coming from virginia, maryland, and the district of columbia. i appreciate the efforts of my fellow virginian mr. rigell, and the subcommittee chairman, my friend, mr. diaz-balart, to try to work with us to restore some of the funding at full committee markup but reducing any of this funding would renege on the federal commitment and jeopardize the state-federal partnership we have work sod hard to create. it would also open the doors for our partners to pull back on their commitments commensurately which would only exacerbate metro's challenge in upgrating its aging infrastructure. the need for funding is identified by metro itself, the national traffic safety
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administration board following a tragic accident this past january. the most visible improvement is the purchase of 7,000 new rail cars with extra capacity to replace the oldest and original cars in the fleet. congress and the federal government have a responsibility in the operation and safety of metro half of all metro stations are located on federal property and approximately 40% of rush hour riders on metro are in fact federal employees. include manage members of congress and their staffs. it's critical we maintain this bipartisan commitment to match local and state funding so that metro can continue making these safety upgrades. i want to thank mr. hoyer and ms. norton, mr. value hollen, ms. ed wrds, mr. beyer, and ms. comstock for working with us. i yield the balance of my time to the distinguished delegate from washington, d.c., ms.
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norton. the chair: the gentleman yields to the gentlelady from washington, d.c. ms. norton: i thank my friend for yielding. as co-sponsor of this amendment which has profound safety implications for america's subway, i think it's so urgent that a member of the appropriation committee, i think has already restored $25 million. this was a partnership. partnership between the federal government and maryland, virginia and the district of columbia. it became real after there was a crash that took the lives of nine district of columbia residents in 2009. this is a unique transit agency. this is where staff of this body this is where visitors from all over the world ride. and if this funding is delayed, it will delay the series 7000
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trains. it is in trains that were not crash worthy that we lost lives. we beg that this funding be restored. the district, maryland virginia, are each fulfilling their part of the partnership. it is up to the federal government to do our part and fulfill our part. don't break the partnership open now. i yield -- i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlelady can yield back to the gentleman from virginia. the gentleman from virginia reserves. mr. connolly: i reserves. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. diaz-balart: claim time. in opposition. the chair: in opposition or to -- for your point of order. mr. diaz-balart: i continue to reserve the point of order. the chair: the gentleman reserves the point of order and claims time in opposition. mr. diaz-balart: i want to yield to the gentlelady from virginia who is passionate about this
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issue. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the gentleman for yielding and i rise as a co-sponsor of the amendment in support of the amendment. mr. chairman, as pointed out by my colleagues, congress did make a 10-year statutory commitment as a federal partner a 50-50 partner, to provide capital grant money to the washington metropolitan area transit authority. the spending has been used for vital capital and safety impruftes on the -- improvements on the metro system is many of our constituents and staff and tourists and people from all over the world travel on every day. ms. comstock: as part of that agreement, matching grant money from the commonwealth of virginia and the state of maryland have supplemented this in a full 50-50 match. this is truly a good partnership that has worked well since the bill was passed in 2008. we should continue to fulfill that commitment. this amendment would restore the already obligated funding to the bill and keep the promise that we've already made.
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metro needs these funds for improvements. it will address certain concerns and i appreciate the opportunity to join my colleagues in the national capital area in support of this amendment. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from florida's time -- the gentlelady yields back to the gentleman from florida. mr. diaz-balart: i would like to yield back the balance of my time and insist on the point of order. the chair: the gentleman yields back and insist on his point of order. mr. diaz-balart: the amendment proposes an increase in budget authority in the bill. the amendment is not in order under section 3-d--3 of house resolution 5 114th congress which states the follow, it shall not be in order to consider an amendment to a general appropriations bill proposing a net increase in budget authority in the bill unless considered en bloc with another amendment or amendments proposing an equal or greater decrease in such budget authority pursuant to clause 2-f
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of rule 21. mr. chairman, the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill in violation of such section so i now respectfully ask for a ruling from the chair. the chair: does any member wish to be heard on the point of order? the gentleman from virginia. mr. connolly: mr. chairman, i rise in opposition to the invocation of the point of order. this is a provision that has been in law for the past six years. and i believe that it ought to be in transit law for a seventh. ewith represent the entire national capital region. this is a unique region, this is the nation's capital. we ought not to be reneging on a deal that was worked out with great effort six years ago based on a point of order. with that, i oppose the point of order and i yield back. the chair: the chair is repaired to rule. the gentleman from florida -- is prepared to rule. the gentleman from florida makes
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a point of order that the amendment is in violation of section 3-d-3 of house resolution 5. as persuasively argued by the gentleman from florida, the amendment does violate the rule and is therefore not in order. the clerk will read. the clerk: page 53, line 16, administrative provisions. federal transit administration. section 160, the limitations on obligations for programs of the federal transit administration shall not apply. section 161 funds appropriated under the heading fixed guideway capital investment shall be directed to projects eligible to use the funds. section 162. funds appropriated before october 1, 2015 that remain available may be transferred. section 163. none of the funds shall be used to enter into a full funding grant agreement where a project with a new start share greater than 50%.
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section 164. none of the funds may be available to advance a new light or heavy rail project toward a full funding grant agreement. st. lawrence seaway development corporation. the development corporation is authorized to make such expenditures available to the corporation and in accord with law. operations and maintenance. harbor maintenance trust fund $32,042,000. maritime administration, maritime security program $186 million. operations and training, $164158,000. ship disposal. $4 million. maritime guaranteed loan, title 11 program account including transfer of funds. $3,135,000. administrate i provisions maritime administration. section 170. the administration is authorized to make necessary repairs
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involving government properties. section 171. none of the funds shall be used to negotiate or perform fee for service contracts for vessel disposal. pipeline and hazardous material safety administration operational expenses. $20,725,000. hazardous materials safety. $60,500,000 of which $7,570,000 shall remain available until september 30 2018. pipeline safety. pipeline safety fund oil spill liability trust fund, $145,870,000. the chair: clerk will suspend. the gentlelady -- for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i rise today to offer an amendment, amendment number 30. the chair: the clerk will designate that amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mrs. capps of california, page 61 line 22, strike the period
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at the end and insert the following. colon, provided further that not less than $1 million of the funds proswrided under this heading shall be for the finalization and implementation of rules require under section 60102 n of title 49 united states code and section 8-b-3 of the pipeline safety regulatory certainty and job creation act of 211, 49 united states code, 60108 note, 125 stat 1911. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 287, the gentlewoman from california and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california. mrs. capps: i mrs. capps: this issue is of particular importance to me and my constituents. two weeks ago, more than 100,000

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