House Republicans Once Again Try to Defund California HSR

Jun 11th, 2014 | Posted by

Here we go again. House Republicans have voted to defund California high speed rail in yet another attack on the project:

Daring a presidential veto, GOP lawmakers are deploying a Fiscal 2015 transportation funding bill to effectively block the federal Surface Transportation Board from issuing new permits for the California project.

Hammering home the point, House Republicans on Tuesday approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., that blocks any money from the $52 billion bill from going to California high-speed rail.

This is probably going to get stripped from the bill in conference with the Senate, but it’s still worth watching closely. The California High Speed Rail Authority is pushing back hard, pointing out that this amendment would throw thousands of people out of work:

Richard, while sighing that “we go through this every year with these guys,” also emphasized that killing the California high-speed rail program would wipe out contracts that include a number serving veterans. According to the rail authority, 71 companies working on the rail project have offices in the Central Valley; 47 of these are in the Fresno and Clovis area.

Statewide, the rail authority says 8,589 California-based employees were working on the project as of April.

“Now they’re speaking about throwing people out of jobs,” Richard said.

In short, Central Valley Republicans are trying to throw their constituents out of work. What nice people they are.

Worth keeping in mind as Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy plots his rise in the wake of Eric Cantor’s surprise defeat.

  1. morris brown
    Jun 11th, 2014 at 15:12

    Robert take note and tell the whole story.

    It is not only Republicans who voted for this amendment, 6 Democrats, including 4 from California voted for the Amendment also:

    See (one of your favorite publications)

    Conservative Dems vs. Trains

    it passed 227 to 186. 221 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted for it. 183 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against it.

    Here are the 6 Democrats who voted for it:

    John Barrow (GA-12)
    Ami Bera (CA-07)
    Julia Brownley (CA-26)
    Scott Peters (CA-52)
    Collin Peterson (MN-07)
    Raul Ruiz (CA-26)

    AS I have on several occasions noted, at the Federal level, the CA HSR project has opposition not only from Republicans but from Democrats as well.

    ( a bit suprising that Rep. Lowenthal didn’t vote yes as well)

    JCC Reply:

    So Morris Brown take note and tell the whole story.

    It is not only Democrats who support HSR but a few Republicans as well. (ok it is only 3 members of their house caucus but they count, right?)

    I guess the bigger note is that right wing extremists insists that the full “facts” come out but then they themselves are just as likely as anyone else to ignore facts that they don’t like, or as the case above illustrates, they push irrelevant drivel that are supposed to be “facts” and support their position. Precisely how was Robert’s lack of giving the numbers to the house vote relevant to the bigger issue, important or even an impediment to our democracy? I am sure that an extremist has an answer to these important issues.

    I often wonder how right wing extremists react to their own party advancing a policy position and then staging a full scale retreat. There are many to chose from but I remember this incident several years ago. Republicans in the house stated that bills in the House had to be read by everyone and therefore there had to be sufficient time between a bill leaving a House Committee and a vote on the bill so that everyone could read it and know exactly what they were voting for. Of course over the last few years bills have been sent out of committee and then almost immediately voted on by the full house. Guess what, there was no right wing outrage over this.

    Alan Reply:

    And of course, Morris conveniently ignores the fact that the amendment will be stripped out of the bill in the Senate, and is unlikely to reappear in conference.

    But again, why confuse Morris with facts?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    The California Democrats you note all are running scared after the primary results. They don’t want to get bludgeoned by their opponents on HSR when it has no impact on their districts for 40 years. More frightening for you, Morris is the fact that Cantor’s loss migt upend any deal on the transportation reauthorization due by Oct. 1.

    Transit systems could shut down temporarily, highway widening could stop, rail shipments could be reduced, leading to higher gas prices.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    So did Pelosi give them permission for this tactical vote?

    Ted Judah Reply:

    Absolutely. Though remember, they get permission from Rahm Emannuel and it’s called “catch and release”.

  2. morris brown
    Jun 11th, 2014 at 15:20

    Another indication that this statement that 8589 current jobs are in jeopardy, would be Tutor/Perini statement that their contract of $1 billion for the 29 miles from Madera to Fresno would employ only 1000 construction workers.


    Tutor Perini is the managing partner of the joint venture team, which includes Zachry Construction Corporation of San Antonio, Texas and Parsons Corporation of Pasadena, California. Initial work on this project is planned to begin by July 2013. The project is anticipated to create more than 1,000 construction jobs per year over its four-year duration.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The people in the payroll office aren’t construction workers. Neither are the people in the cement plant or the concrete plant. Or the people who mine the gravel and sand in the concrete.

    JCC Reply:

    He won’t like that information

    Alan Reply:

    Or the people drawing the plans. Or doing EIR’s for additional segments. Or negotiating ROW purchases.

    But Morris doesn’t care about those people. Must be nice to sit in a Peninsula mansion and not give a shit about anyone else.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And all those billable hours for lawyers who, because they are fine upstanding conscientious lawyers, told their clients their lawsuit didn’t have a chance. but took on the job anyway because their client insisted that it would be a slam dunk….

    RobBob Reply:

    “more than” is not the same as the “only” that you state. 8589 jobs is in fact “more than” 1000 construction jobs.

    Judge Moonbox Reply:

    Economists have long used the “multiplier effect” in projecting how many jobs a project would create. Take the number of people directly employed: construction workers, and also those who manufacture the cars and steel rebars, make the cement that goes into the concrete, etc. Multiply that by 3.5 because the workers will spend their money on clothes, cars, meals and so forth. If the 1,000 construction workers are supplied by 1,451 manufacturing workers, the number works out.

  3. Reality Check
    Jun 11th, 2014 at 16:28

    Travel chaos as France hit by dual rail and taxi strike

    Only one high-speed intercity TGV out of two or three was running, while regional trains were also affected, particularly in the Paris area.


    The rail strike, described by passenger associations as “incomprehensible”, takes place a week before France’s National Assembly examines a proposed railway reform that aims to tackle the sector’s soaring debt.

    Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said on Tuesday the railway sector’s debt currently stood at more than €40 billion, and would likely soar to €80 billion by 2025 if nothing was done about it.

    At the heart of the proposed reforms are plans to open up France’s rail services to competition and plans to unite state-run rail operator SNCF with RFF, the heavily indebted company responsible for the country’s rail infrastructure.


    Rail passengers who managed to arrive in major terminals such as Paris will be doubly hampered on Wednesday by an almost total lack of taxis.

    French cabbies have joined taxi services across Europe, including the UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany, protesting against the exponential rise of minicab services that use advanced mobile phone apps they say are akin to taxi meters, currently only allowed in licensed vehicles.

    Particularly in their sights is minicab app Uber, which links passengers to private hire drivers.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    aonce driverless cars arrive why do we need Uber or taxi’s with drivers?

  4. Reality Check
    Jun 11th, 2014 at 16:36

    Could Eric Cantor’s loss be California’s gain?

    Will House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning fall result in a rise in congressional influence for California?

    Maybe, because the lawmaker perhaps best positioned to fill Cantor’s job is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield.

    McCarthy, the current majority whip, hasn’t said yet if he intends to make a run for the Cantor post, but Capitol insiders say they would be shocked if he did not.

    McCarthy is a prodigious fundraiser who, along with Cantor, helped orchestrate the GOP takeover of the House in 2010.


    Among his signature issues is relaxation of environmental rules that limit the use of water by Central California farmers. He has also launched a crusade against California’s high-speed rail project, championing measures to halt federal funding for it.

    McCarthy is also a close ally of the oil and gas industry, and he is pushing for policies that preserve its ability to conduct hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in California.

    An infusion of federal spending to California would be unlikely were McCarthy to replace Cantor.

    Joe Reply:

    Kevin’s from a solid blues state which makes him de facto not conservative enough to replace Cantor.

    I would welcome him stepping into the job and exposing hard core anti immigration rhetoric from a leadership position. We’d bounce him out of office next term.

    joe Reply:

    Cantor’s loss is bad for McCarthy and the CA GOP. very bad.

    McCarthy will be lucky to hold the #3 spot. He’s either got to working on stop immigration reform as the #3 party official in the House or be kick aside for a more strident member. If McCarthy stops work on immigration reform, he’ll be vulnerable in a general election.
    1. Top story: What Cantor’s loss means for immigration reform and the political landscape

    Cantor loses primary in shocker after his support for pathway to citizenship. “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, was badly beaten in a primary contest Tuesday by an obscure professor with tea party backing — a historic electoral surprise that left the GOP in chaos….The dour and businesslike Cantor had embraced confrontation enough to alienate some establishment types….But he also had made moves that alienated the party’s confrontational wing. Cantor, for instance, had championed a Republican version of the Dream Act, which would enable some illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Although he never brought the legislation to the House floor, his support for the idea irritated staunch opponents of immigration reform.”

    McCarthy on immigration reform: ‘The most important thing is to get it done right’

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A day after Republican party leadership seemed to stall on immigration reform, Bakersfield’s Rep. Kevin McCarthy insists the job will get done, but it has to be done right. On Thursday House Speaker John Boehner said passing reform would be tough because President Obama has to “restore trust.” Friday, McCarthy said that’s necessary, but work will continue.

    Even our own Republican leaders have recognized this, so they should be speaking up to their friends, and say – ‘Hey, this is going to hurt us a lot if you don’t come over to the side and do the right thing,” Easter said. And she worries McCarthy won’t work on this. “I don’t really have a lot of confidence that he’s going to push this issue at all,” she said.

    McCarthy disputes that.

    “Me personally, as Whip, I do a lot every single day,” he said. And, he told Eyewitness News if reform isn’t passed this year, Republicans will still keep working to pass it.

    “Sometimes it’s tough to move it,’ McCarthy said. “But, the most important thing is to get it done right.”

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    It’s noteworthy that Brat received about 36,000 votes out of 65,000 cast. I have not yet found the numbers for registered voters but this has to be a very small percentage from a district population of 750,000. What ever happened to stuffed ballot boxes? Where are the fixers of yore? Seriously though, this is pretty sad for representative democracy.

    joe Reply:

    262K voted in the “last off” year general election (2010).

    Nathanael Reply:

    Remember, this is a primary, though. A bunch of those general election voters are Democrats or third-party members or independents.

    John Burrows Reply:

    In 2012 when presumably there was more voter interest, Cantor beat E. Wayne Powell—222,983 to 158,012. Brat’s 36,000 votes equal less than 10% of the 381,000 votes cast in Cantor’s soon to be former district.

    This is what can happen when a small group of voters get fired up and apparently nobody else does.

    Jerry Brown is a shoo-in to win re-election this November, but hopefully he will campaign in a meaningful way. If too many Brown supporters don’t vote and the California Republicans become seriously motivated, the election result could end up closer than expected—Even a fairly close election would give the Republicans a victory of sorts.

  5. joe
    Jun 11th, 2014 at 19:44
    Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy under investigation after alleged assault, DA’s office says
    Alleged incident happened at Ice Center
    City Attorney Ginny Gennaro told 23ABC that her office was contacted early Monday morning by Police Chief Greg Williamson, regarding an alleged incident at the Ice Sports Center, involving City Manager Alan Tandy and Christ Huot, Assistant to the City Manager.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Why am I not surprised.

  6. Eric
    Jun 12th, 2014 at 00:48

    Off topic: Does this actually work?

    “33.) A train station full of people push against a train to help rescue someone who fell in the gap.”

    JB in PA Reply:

    Steel wheels are so efficient, one person can move a rail car using a pry-bar.
    To lean a car over and open a gap would need a combined side-force to deflect the suspension. Maybe 1% of the dead-weight sitting on the suspension?

    JB in PA Reply:

    (80,000 lb * 1%)/50 = 16lb each to get started.

  7. swing hanger
    Jun 12th, 2014 at 06:58

    Yes, it happened last year on the Keihin Tohoku Line. CG depiction of the incident (note for the technicals: the CG is in error, the train in question had an air cushion bolsterless suspension, not the coil type depicted):

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