Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Rail and Public Transportation Security Act - Walberg Votes No

Today, the United States House of Representatives voted on HR 1401, the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act. It describes itself as a bill "to improve the security of railroads, public transportation, and over-the-road buses in the United States, and for other purposes." It's a pretty large bill, so if you'd like more information, read the text of the bill (here or here).

It passed, 299-124.

Tim Walberg voted No. Although 124 Republicans voted against it, 74 joined the Democratic majority to support the bill's passage. Among those 74 were Michigan Republicans Vern Ehlers (MI-03), Peter Hoekstra (MI-02), Joe Knollenberg (MI-09), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Candice Miller (MI-10), and Fred Upton (MI-06). Joining Walberg in opposition to the measure were Dave Camp (MI-04) and Mike Rogers (MI-08). All six Michigan Democrats voted to support the bill.

Former Congressman Joe Schwarz was reported to be a big fan of railways and trains, and was seen as a friend of Amtrak during his term (and Amtrak, for those unaware, has a line that runs straight through the 7th District). How do you think he might have voted on a bill to improve transportation security? And how do you think a Democrat-- any Democrat-- would have voted?

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I think Schwarz would have been cautious, but he would have made a very well-informed vote. At first glance "inproving security" is a pretty nebulous saying, there has to be more to it than that. He is passionate about the railroad and understands the complexities especially as it relates to us here in Michigan and the midwest. He's a true expert on railroads, and has been directly involved with rail issues over the years. He's saved many railroad jobs in Michigan, just wish all those people had voted for him!

It's a shame he's not there no to oversee this, but that's just one of the things we've lost by electing this moron who hasn't got much of a clue about anything. We continue to lose with this guy, what a mistake we made.
The AMTRAK line which runs in this district serves Ann Arbor, Jackson, Albion and Battle Creek, as well as the Lansing area. I have used AMTRAK for a long time are really find rail to be a great way to travel.

I heard Schwarz one time talking about the history of rail. He was pointing out that when we won WWII, the US helped rebuild europe and Japan. His point was that our investments in their rail have put both in great positions to deal with the "flat world" we all live in, especially when their mass transit and heavy shipping are cheap.

Both Japan and europe heavily subsidize their rail, but it pays dividends for both tourism and manufacturing. Those are two industries I wish my Congressman would keep in the front of his mind as we here in Michigan navigate our current fiscal crisis. If the rest of this country is doing so great, why can't we in Michigan get a little help? We've been paying our dues for many years and now that we need some help, our Congressman is unwilling to ask on our behalf.

I sure do wish I was in his shoes, earning $170K for 3 days of work per week and $40K+ and healthcare for life from a 16 year gig as a state representative... I probably wouldn't care much about Michigan either...
Wow, I just sent a few letters to the editor with the Walberg salary and pension info just yesterday...great minds think alike. I think we need to keep pounding on the fact his is opposed to increasing the $5.15 minimum wage but has no problems pocketing his 30K+ pieces of silver for his 16 years of feeding at the Michigan public trough.
The first anonymous poster wrote:

what a mistake we made

All I can say is "Who is we, Kimosabe?"
"We," collectively, is the 7th District of Michigan. While "we" individually may not have voted for him, "we" collectively elected him, but not by much of a margin.

It would probably be more accurate to say "they" elected him because there were so few of "us" who voted, but in a democracy "we" elect elect people, although none of us "we's" were "them."

Does the saying "I've seen the enemy and it is us?" apply here?
"We have met the enemy and he is us" was Walt Kelly's classic Pogo comment.

Pogo didn't realize how prophetic his comment would become.
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