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Congressional Dish is a twice-monthly podcast that aims to draw attention to where the American people truly have power: Congress. From the perspective of a fed up taxpayer with no allegiance to any political party, Jennifer Briney will fill you in on the must-know information about what our represe…

Jennifer Briney


    • May 8, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    CD251: BIF: Driving Dangers Sustained

    Play Episode Listen Later May 8, 2022 80:59

    The recently signed infrastructure law continues the United States' over-reliance on the most dangerous way to travel: driving a vehicle. Did Congress make sufficient safety improvements to decrease the dangers posed by driving in the United States? This episode will examine all vehicle-related safety provisions to help you weigh your own transportation options. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! View the Show Notes on our Website at https://congressionaldish.com/cd251-bif-driving-dangers-sustained/ Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD246: BIF: Appalachian Chemical Storage CD247: BIF: The Growth of US Railroads CD240: BIF: The Infrastructure BILL CD021: Trailblazer vs. ThinThread Why You Should Be Afraid of Cars “Number of worldwide air traffic fatalities from 2006 to 2021.” Apr 12, 2022. Statista. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mar 2022. “Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2020.” U.S. Department of Transportation. “Number of deaths / injuries directly linked to boating accidents in the U.S. from 2002 to 2020.” Jun 2021. Statista. Injury Facts. “Railroad Deaths and Injuries.” National Safety Council. Jon Ziomek. Sept 28, 2020. “Disaster on Tenerife: History's Worst Airline Accident.” Historynet. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Distracted Driving.” U.S. Department of Transportation. Problems the Law Does (and Does Not) Address Jake Blumgart. Nov 15, 2021. “The Infrastructure Bill May Not Be So Historic After All.” Governing. Self Driving Cars Neal E. Boudette. May 3, 2022. “Paying customers could hail driverless taxis in San Francisco later this year.” San Francisco Examiner. Natasha Yee. Apr 1, 2022. “Waymo Bringing Driverless Vehicles to Downtown Phoenix ... Soon.” Phoenix New Times. “24 Self-Driving Car Statistics & Facts.” Feb 20, 2022. Carsurance. Neal E. Boudette. Jul 5, 2021. “Tesla Says Autopilot Makes Its Cars Safer. Crash Victims Say It Kills.” The New York Times. Clifford Law Offices PC. May 5, 2021. “The Dangers of Driverless Cars.” The National Law Review. Katie Shepherd and Faiz Siddiqui. Apr. 19, 2021. “A driverless Tesla crashed and burned for four hours, police said, killing two passengers in Texas.” The Washington Post. Riley Beggin. Jan 15, 2021. “Self-Driving Vehicles Allowed to Skip Some Crash Safety Rules.” Government Technology. Faiz Siddiqui. Oct 22, 2020. “Tesla is putting ‘self-driving' in the hands of drivers amid criticism the tech is not ready.” The Washington Post. Niraj Chokshi. Feb 25, 2020. “Tesla Autopilot System Found Probably at Fault in 2018 Crash.” The New York Times. Michael Laris. Feb 11, 2020. “Tesla running on ‘Autopilot' repeatedly veered toward the spot where Apple engineer later crashed and died, federal investigators say.” The Washington Post. Alex Davies. May 16, 2019. “Tesla's Latest Autopilot Death Looks Just Like a Prior Crash.” Wired. Neal E. Boudette and Bill Vlasic. Sept 12, 2017. “Tesla Self-Driving System Faulted by Safety Agency in Crash.” The New York Times. Rachel Abrams and Annalyn Kurtz. Jul 1, 2016. “Joshua Brown, Who Died in Self-Driving Accident, Tested Limits of His Tesla.” The New York Times. Alcohol Detection Systems Isaac Serna-Diez. Nov 23, 2021. “Alcohol Detection Systems Will Now Be Mandatory In All New Cars To Prevent Drunk Driving. YourTango. Keyless Entry Carbon Monoxide Deaths “Toyota Introduces Automatic Engine Shut Off to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Deaths.” Jun 20, 2019. Kelley Uustal Trial Attorneys. “Toyota Has the Most Keyless Ignition Related Deaths, But Takes no Action.” Jun 7, 2019. KidsAndCars.org. Kids Left in Cars Morgan Hines. Aug 2, 2019. “There's science behind why parents leave kids in hot cars.” USA Today. Scottie Andrew and AJ Willingham. July 30, 2019. “More than 38 kids die in hot cars every year, and July is the deadliest month.” CNN. John Bacon. Jul 28, 2019. “'He will never forgive himself': Wife defends husband in devastating hot car deaths of twins.” USA Today. Eric Stafford. May 6, 2019. [“Children Can Die When Left in the Back Seat on a Warm Day—and 800 Already Have. “Children Can Die When Left in the Back Seat on a Warm Day—and 800 Already Have.” Car and Driver. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Child Heatstroke Prevention: Prevent Hot Car Deaths.” U.S. Department of Transportation. Motorcycle Helmets “Motorcycle helmet use laws by state.” May 2022. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Facts + Statistics: Motorcycle crashes.” Insurance Information Institute. Adam E. M. Eltorai et. al. March 16, 2016. “Federally mandating motorcycle helmets in the United States.” BMC Public Health. Truck Safety “How Many Miles Do Semi Trucks Last?” Rechtien. Non-motorist Safety “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2020 Preliminary Data.” Governors Highway Safety Association. “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2020 Preliminary Data.” [Full Report] March 2021. Governors Highway Safety Association. John Wenzel. Jan 6, 2020. “Bollard Installation Cost.” Saint Paul Sign & Bollard. Richard Peace. Feb 20, 2019. “Why You Don't Want a Superfast Electric Bicycle.” Electric Bike Report. 911 System Upgrades Mark L. Goldstein. January 2018. “Next Generation 911: National 911 Program Could Strengthen Efforts to Assist States” [GAO-18-252]. Government Accountability Office. National 911 Program. December 2016. “2016 National 911 Progress Report.” U.S. Department of Transportation. CD021: Trailblazer vs. ThinThread Followup “Michael Hayden, Principal, Strategic Advisory Services.” The Chertoff Group. “Board of Directors.” Atlantic Council. Tim Shorrock. Apr 15 2013. “Obama's Crackdown on Whistleblowers.” The Nation. The Law H.R.3684 - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senate Version Law Outline DIVISION A: SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TITLE I - FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS Subtitle A - Authorizations and Programs Sec. 11101: Authorization of Appropriations Authorizes appropriations for Federal-Aid for highways at between $52 billion and $56 billion per year through fiscal year 2026 (over $273 billion total). Authorizes $300 million for "charging and fueling infrastructure grants" for 2022, which increases by $100 million per year (maxing out at $700 million in 2026) Authorizes between $25 million and $30 million per year for "community resilience and evacuation route grants" on top of equal amounts for "at risk coastal infrastructure grants" Authorizes a total of $6.53 billion (from two funds) for the bridge investment program Sec. 11102: Obligation Ceiling Caps the annual total funding from all laws (with many exceptions) that can be spent on Federal highway programs. Total through 2026: $300.3 billion Sec. 11111: Highway Safety Improvement Program Adds protected bike lanes to the list of projects allowed to be funded by the highway safety improvement project Adds "vulnerable road users" (non-motorists) to the list of people who must be protected by highway safety improvement projects If 15% or more of a state's annual crash fatalities are made up of non-motorists, that state will be required to spend at least 15% of its highway safety improvement project money on projects designed to improve safety for non-motorists. Each state, by the end of 2023, will have to complete a vulnerable road user safety assessment that includes specific information about each non-motorist fatality and serious injury in the last five years, identifies high-risk locations, and identifies possible projects and strategies for improving safety for non-motorists in those locations. Sec. 11119: Safe Routes to School Creates a new program to improve the ability of children to walk and ride their bikes to school by funding projects including sidewalk improvements, speed reduction improvements, crosswalk improvements, bike parking, and traffic diversions away from schools. Up to 30% of the money can be used for public awareness campaigns, media relations, education, and staffing. No additional funding is provided. It will be funded with existing funds for "administrative expenses". Each state will get a minimum of $1 million. Non-profit organizations are eligible, along with local governments, to receive and spend the funding. Non-profits are the only entities eligible to receive money for educational programs about safe routes to school. Sec. 11130: Public Transportation Allows the Transportation Secretary to allocate funds for dedicated bus lanes Sec. 11133: Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways Adds "shared micromobility" projects (like bike shares) to the list of projects that can be funded as a highway project Electric bike-share bikes must stop assisting the rider at a maximum of 28 mph to be classified as an "electric bicycle" Subtitle B - Planning and Performance Sec. 11206: Increasing Safe and Accessible Transportation Options. Requires each state, in return for funding, to carry out 1 or more project to increase accessible for multiple travel modes. The projects can be... The enactment of "complete streets standards" (which ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system) Connections of bikeways, pedestrian walkways, and public transportation to community centers and neighborhoods Increasing public transportation ridership Improving safety of bike riders and pedestrians Intercity passenger rail There's a way for State's to get this requirement waived if they already have Complete Streets standards in place Subtitle D - Climate Change Sec. 11404: Congestion Relief Program Creates a grant program, funded at a minimum of $10 million per grant, for projects aimed at reducing highway congestion. Eligible projects include congestion management systems, fees for entering cities, deployment of toll lanes, parking fees, and congestion pricing, operating commuter buses and vans, and carpool encouragement programs. Buses, transit, and paratransit vehicles "shall" be allowed to use toll lanes "at a discount rate or without charge" Subtitle E - Miscellaneous Sec. 11502: Stopping Threats on Pedestrians By the end of 2022, the Secretary of Transportation needs to create a competitive grant pilot program to fund "bollard installation projects", which are projects that raise concrete or metal posts on a sidewalk next to a road that are designed to slow or stop a motor vehicle. The grants will pay for 100% of the project costs Appropriates only $5 million per year through 2026 Sec. 11504: Study of Impacts on Roads from Self-driving Vehicles By early 2023, the Transportation Department has to conduct a study on the existing and future effects of self-driving cars on infrastructure, mobility, the environment, and safety. Sec. 11529: Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program Creates a grant program authorized for $1 billion total that will fund walking and biking infrastructure projects that each cost $15 million or more and connect communities to each other, including communities in different states, and to connect to public transportation. The Federal government will pay for 80% of the project costs, except in communities with a poverty rate over 40% (the Federal government will pay 100% of the project costs in impoverished communities). TITLE III - MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY Sec. 23010: Automatic Emergency Braking: Automatic Emergency Braking A Federal regulation will be created by November 2023 which will require new commercial vehicles to be equipped with automatic braking systems and there will be performance standards for those braking systems. Sec. 23022: Apprenticeship Pilot Program Creates a three year pilot program, capped at 3,000 participants at a time, for people under 21 to be trained by people over the age of 26 to become commercial truck drivers. Drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to transport any passengers or hazardous cargo Sec. 23023: Limousine Compliance With Federal Safety Standards A Federal regulation will be created by November 2023 requiring that limousines have a seat belts at every seating position, including side facing seats. TITLE IV - HIGHWAY AND MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY Subtitle A - Highway Traffic Safety Sec. 24102: Highway Safety Programs Prohibit the Federal Government from withholding highway safety money to the states that refuse to require helmets for motorcycle drivers or passengers who are over the age of 18. Sec. 24103: Highway Safety Research and Development Creates a grant program (by November 2023) that will fund states that want to create a process for notifying vehicle owners about any open recalls on their cars when they register their cars with the DMV. The state receiving the money is only required to provide the notifications for two years and participation in general is voluntary. Creates financial incentives for states to create laws that prohibit drivers from holding "a personal wireless communications device" while driving, has fines for breaking that law, and has no exemptions for texting when stopped in traffic. There are exceptions for using a cell phone for navigation in a "hands-free manner" Creates financial incentives for states to create laws that require curriculum in driver's education courses to include information about law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and the rights and responsibilities of the drivers when being stopped. The states would also have to have training programs for the officers for implementing the procedures that would be explained to drivers. Sec. 24113: Implementation of GAO Recommendations Requires the Secretary of Transportation to implement all of the national-level recommendations outlined in a 2018 GAO report by the end of November 2022. Subtitle B - Vehicle Safety Sec. 24201: Authorization of Appropriations Authorizes a little over $1 billion total for vehicle safety programs from 2022 through 2026 Sec. 24205: Automatic Shutoff By November 2023, the Transportation Department will have to issue a regulation requiring fossil fuel powered vehicles with keyless ignitions to have an automatic shutoff system to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The amount of time that must trigger the shut off will be determined by the regulators. If the regulation is issued on time, this would go into effect most likely on September 1, 2024. Sec. 24208: Crash Avoidance Technology The Secretary of Transportation must issue a regulation establishing minimum standards for crash avoidance technology that must be included in all vehicles sold in the United States starting on a date that will be chosen by the Secretary of Transportation. The technology must alert the driver of an imminent crash and apply the breaks automatically if the driver doesn't do so. The technology must include a land departure system that warns the driver that they are not in their lane and correct the course of travel if the driver doesn't do so. Sec. 24215: Emergency Medical Services and 9-1-1 Repeals the part of the law that required the Transportation Department to publish criteria that established timelines and performance requirements for anyone who got a grant to implement the Next Generation 9-1-1 project. Sec. 24220: Advanced Impaired Driving Technology By November 2024, the Secretary of Transportation will have to finish a regulation that requires passenger motor vehicles to be standard equipped with "advanced and impaired driving prevention technology" The technology must be able to monitor the performance of a driver and/or their blood alcohol level and be able to prevent or limit the car's operation if impairment is detected or if the blood alcohol is above the legal limit. This will apply to new cars sold after November 2030 at the latest. Sec. 24222: Child Safety By November 2023, the Secretary of Transportation must finish a regulation requiring all new passenger vehicles to have a system alerting the driver visually and audibly to check the back seat when the car is turned off. Says it will be activated "when the vehicle motor is deactivated by the operator" Hearings The Road Ahead for Automated Vehicles House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit February 2, 2022 Overview: The purpose of this hearing is for Members of the Subcommittee to explore the impact of automated vehicle deployment, including automated trucks and buses, on mobility, infrastructure, safety, workforce, and other economic and societal implications or benefits. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    CD250: Congress Saves the Postal Service

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 24, 2022 89:36

    Congress did a good thing! In this encouraging episode, learn about a new law that saved the Postal Service from financial doom without spending one extra penny in taxpayer money. Then, listen to the highlights from a recent hearing about the electrification of the Postal Service's vehicle fleet. Louis DeJoy may not have sabotaged the 2020 election, but is he sabotaging the effort to transition the Postal Service away from fossil fuels? Executive Producer: Stephen McMahan Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD220: Postal Service Sabotage Lobbying Open Secrets. Bill Profile: H.R. 3076. “Specific Issues Reports for H.R.3076 by: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, 117th Congress.” Open Secrets. Bill Profile: H.R. 3076. “Clients Lobbying on H.R.3076: Postal Service Reform Act of 2021.” Open Secrets. Darrell Issa: Federal Congressional Candidacy Data “Contributors 1997 - 2022.” Jon Stewart Podcast “Jon Talks about the Media -- and It Talks Back.” March 24, 2022. The Problem with Jon Stewart. The Law H.R. 3076: Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 Full Text Summary Cost Estimate House Vote Breakdown: 342-92 (All no votes GOP) Senate Vote Breakdown: 79-19 (All no votes GOP) H.R.6407 - Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act Became law on December 20, 2006 Vote Breakdown Audio Sources It's Electric! Developing the Postal Service Fleet of the Future House Committee on Oversight and Reform April 5, 2022 The Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing to examine the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of electrifying the Postal Service fleet through the acquisition of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). Witnesses: Tammy L. Whitcomb, Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Victoria K. Stephen, Executive Director, Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, USPS Kenny Stein, Director, Policy, Institute for Energy Research Jill Naamane, Acting Director, Physical Infrastructure Team, General Services Administration Joe Britton, Executive Director, Zero Emission Transportation Association Clips 10:00 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): While Republicans are not against the Postal Service acquiring electric vehicles, we're against mandates that ignore the business needs and the financial situation of the Postal Service. Republicans believe the postal service must be self funded. This means the Postal Service should pay for its own capital needs, like purchasing new vehicles. Meanwhile, Americans can't afford to fill up their gas tanks, let alone buy an electric vehicle. But that isn't stopping Democrats from demanding your mailman has one. 26:30 Tammy L. Whitcomb: Last February, the Postal Service awarded a contract to produce and deploy up to 165,000 new delivery vehicles over the next 10 years. While the contract allows for both electric and gasoline powered vehicles, the Postal Service's current plan is for most of the new vehicles to be gasoline powered. We have two recent reports related to this purchasing decision. One of our reports was a research paper that identified the opportunities and challenges for the Postal Service in adopting these electric vehicles. We found electric vehicles are well suited for most postal routes, and there are clear benefits to their adoption. For example, a large fleet of electric vehicles would help the Postal Service decrease its greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the growth of the electric vehicle market in the United States. Additionally, electric vehicles are more mechanically reliable than gas powered vehicles and require less scheduled maintenance. They would also result in the Postal Service incurring lower and more reliable and stable energy costs. However, there are challenges associated with adopting an electric vehicle fleet. The upfront costs are significantly higher than gasoline powered vehicles. The Postal Service would need to pay a higher per vehicle price and incur the cost of installing the charging infrastructure. The Postal Service has over 17,000 delivery units that may host electric vehicles and the cost and issues associated with installing charging infrastructure will vary by each depending on the parking layout, power availability and required upgrades. Good planning along with early and consistent communication with local governments and utility companies could help overcome these challenges. We found the Postal Service could save money in the long term by deploying electric vehicles on certain routes. For example on longer routes in in areas of the country where gas prices are traditionally higher. The Postal Service might also be able to lower the costs associated with electric vehicles by exploring different mixes of the type and number of chargers. Because many delivery routes are short, it is unlikely that every vehicle would need to plug into a charger every night. There are two other factors that could significantly change the cost benefit analysis of purchasing electric vehicles: federal funding and local incentives. The Postal Service has stated it could achieve full electrification of its delivery fleet if Congress provided $6.9 billion. Incentive programs by local utility companies might also help offset costs. 33:57 Victoria Stephen: Any mix of replacement vehicles will deliver significant reductions in emissions and improvements in fuel economy over our existing long-life vehicles. I would note, however, that we have 12,500 routes over 70 miles in length that are not candidates for electrification today, and another 5000 that require all wheel drive vehicles due to extreme climate conditions. Electrification also comes with the challenge of installing infrastructure at a multitude of postal facilities. 42:36 Jill Naamane: Last month, the Postal Service ordered 50,000 new delivery vehicles including about 10,000 that will be electric. To inform its decision, USPS conducted a total cost of ownership analysis of a range of types of vehicles. information in this analysis included the maintenance and fuel costs of each vehicle. It also developed a model that recommends the lowest cost vehicle for each delivery route, and a mix of vehicles to purchase each year. The model is based on a set of assumptions including information from the total cost of ownership analysis and details on individual delivery routes. 43:28 Jill Naamane: Our preliminary analysis of the model raises questions about the way in which certain assumptions estimate the costs and benefits of the gas and electric vehicles. I'll highlight a few examples. First, the model we reviewed used a 2020 gas price that is almost $2 per gallon less than the current national average. 43:57 Jill Naamane: Second, the model appears to assume maintenance would be more expensive for electric vehicles than gas. This is inconsistent with research we have identified, our interviews with private delivery companies, and Postal Service documents that show electric vehicles are expected to be less expensive to maintain. 44:16 Jill Naamane: Third, the total cost of ownership analysis does not include a reduction in emissions as a benefit of electric vehicles. A separate USPS Environmental Impact Statement found that with no tailpipe emissions, electric vehicles would have this benefit. 44:40 Jill Naamane: I'll turn now to factors that have so far affected the widespread acquisition of electric vehicles in federal fleets. We've previously reported that these factors include the higher upfront costs of electric vehicles and uncertainties around the cost and installation of charging infrastructure. Our ongoing work indicates that these factors remain relevant. For example, USPS officials said the higher upfront cost was a key factor in their decision making. They estimate that the new electric and gas delivery vehicles will not cost the same until 2031. In addition, USPS estimates a range in the cost of installing chargers depending on the site and it is uncertain whether older facilities have sufficient power capacity to support the charging infrastructure. 51:50 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): On March 24, the Postal Service placed its first purchase order of 50,000 vehicles with Oshkosh. And although the Postal Service initially insisted it could buy only 5000 electric vehicles in this first order, it doubled that amount to 10,000 after this committee and others began to ask questions. So I'd first like to ask Miss Steven, can you briefly explain what changed the Postal Service's analysis to allow for the increase of EVs in this purchase order? Victoria Stephen: Yes, thank you for the question. The first thing that that it's important to note is that the Postal Service has committed to continuing to reassess changes in the market. And so the point that you and some of the other speakers have made today about changing fuel prices…$2.19 was the price at the time that we prepared the analysis, we have continued to do ongoing analysis on changing fuel prices and sensitivity analysis to determine if that change is our mix. It certainly does. The gas prices are higher today than they were when we prepared the initial analysis. So that's one factor. The other key factor is that through the efforts of you and your colleagues, postal reform is making a big difference for the Postal Service. It allows us the flexibility to consider our capital position differently than prior to the passage of postal reform. So between those two key variables, we were able to go back and assess our ability to increase the proportion of electric vehicles within our financial resources and within our means, and we're happy to do that. 1:44:00 Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA): What would the Postal Service do right now if a postal service vehicle runs out of fuel on its route? Victoria Stephen: A conventional vehicle today? Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA): Yes, yes, ma'am. Victoria Stephen: Yeah, we will call our local team and they would— Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA): And you'd bring in gas pretty quick, wouldn't you? Victoria Stephen: That's right. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA): What do you what are you going to do it for the electric postal service vehicle runs out of juice? Victoria Stephen: It's more challenging— Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA): You're gonna have to tow it. So listen, I say to my colleagues across the aisle, maybe the time has come for this discussion, but let's have it honestly. It's not going to work. We're spending billions of dollars of the people's treasury to accomplish some dream. Not to mention what my colleague has brought up: the raw materials for these batteries being mined by child slave labor overseas. That raw product bought by China is assembled into the finished product by slave labor in China. Do we support that? For God's sakes, let's take a step back. As a committee, we owe it to the American people that we serve to take a hard look at this thing. 2:01:06 Rep. Glen Grothman (R-WI): Some of my colleagues proposed requiring 75% of the vehicles to be electric. Do you think that's a reasonable possibility? Do you think that's really something that could be handled right now? Victoria Stephen: I think it's a bit beyond what our estimates say is possible. When we were asked by some of the congressional committee members and staff throughout the last year to assess how far we could go with our electrification, the response we provided was 70% of our delivery fleet acquisitions over the course of the decade could be electrified if resources were made available. 3:16:05 Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA): And then there's the problem with the Postal Service assumptions about EV range, a 70 mile vehicle range. In your extensive work in this field, including the vehicles that companies like GM, Ford and rivian? are providing to private fleets, did USPS use the correct assumption about battery range? Joe Britton: No, it is far inconsistent with what we're seeing in the marketplace and I'll give you a couple examples. The Ford eTransit van? gets nearly two miles per kilowatt hour in the battery pack. The workhorse C Series? gets one and a half miles per kilowatt hour in the battery pack. The Arrival van that is being contracted with UPS gets 1.7 miles per kilowatt hour in the battery pack. The USPS assumption is that this vehicle gets seven tenths of a mile per kilowatt hour in the battery pack. The only other vehicle that we have seen that has that inefficient of an electric drive train would be a Class A tractor trailer or semi truck fully weighted down. It is impossible [unintelligible] -- Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA): And if the model used the correct range assumptions, wouldn't that significantly affect the total cost of ownership analysis, including the number of charging stations needed to support these vehicles? Joe Britton: That's correct. You would not need nearly as many charging stations as the Postal Service is asserting. 3:20:12 Rep. James Comer (R-KY): It's a worthy cause to try to change to try to transfer from fossil fuels to electric vehicles. But the policies in the Biden administration are making that even more difficult than the economics of it. For example, the Biden administration war on coal is making it more difficult to mine coal and to burn coal. I know that from being from a coal burning state and a coal producing state. You have to have coal to make electricity. You also have to have natural gas to make electricity. We have a lot of problems with our energy policy in America from the Biden administration. And he's gonna make electrifying vehicles even more difficult. Senate Session February 8, 2022 Highlighted PDF Clips 20:40 Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Because the Postal Service is required to deliver to every American even on unprofitable routes. The postal service may be charging lower than market rates in its service contracts with private companies. This may not only shortchange the Postal Service making further taxpayer bailouts likely, but it could also distort competition in the package delivery market. 22:45 Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): Senator Scott's amendment would alleviate some of the financial burdens that this bill would impose on taxpayers and the Medicare program by forcing the Postal Service to reimburse Medicare for all of the additional costs that would be created by requiring future postal retirees to enroll in Medicare. 2:38:33 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): I would also like to note what this bill does not do because there has been some misinformation out there. One, it does not appropriate new funds to the post office, period. Two, it does not change the accounting or costing structure for packages and letters so it does not disadvantage private-sector carriers. That is very important to me. This is the status quo that we are putting in place here. It does not change the accounting or costing structure for packages and letters. Third, it does not allow the Postal Service to enter into new commercial services like postal banking. That is also very important to me. And contrary to the claims of this bill's opponents, this bill does not impact the solvency of the Medicare hospital trust fund. That is the trust fund we all talk about. It is going belly-up in 2026. It does not affect it, period. CBO has actually written us something saying that, but it just makes sense. People are already in Part A. And this bill does not increase the Medicare Part B and Part D premiums based on the CBO analysis. Why? Partly because it is such a small number of people. Only 25 percent of postal employees were not already in Part B and Part D, so additional ones make very little difference. But part of it is they are paying their premiums. House Session February 8, 2022 Highlighted PDF Clips 37:10 Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): The fact is they haven't made a profit since 2006 as they are mandated. The truth is, the post office isn't lacking liquidity, it is bankrupt and nothing in this bill will make the post office truly solvent. It simply wipes out and wipes away debts and shifts the burden onto taxpayers. The bill forgives $46 billion in debts owed by the Postal Service, forcing the taxpayers to pay it. House Committee on Oversight and Reform Business Meeting May 13, 2021 Clip 44:45 Rep. Speier (D-CA): Believe it or not, prohibition has been over for 90 years, but somehow, we never fixed it so that the US Postal Service could be in a position to mail and process liquor and wine. So for 90 years, they have had their hands tied, while others were able to do that task. We can't have the Postal Service break even or even become profitable if we keep tying its hands. So we also have an interest in protecting small businesses, micro breweries, small retail establishments, small wineries. They cannot ship their product because they either have to have the sanctions of the wholesalers or they don't ship. Hearing: Examining the Finances and Operations of the United States Postal Service During COVID-19 and Upcoming Elections Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee August 21, 2020 Watch on YouTube Clips 12:30 Louis DeJoy: Our business model established by the Congress requires us to pay our bills through our own efforts. I view it as my personal obligation to put the organization in a position to fulfill that mandate. With action from the Congress and our regulator, and significant effort by the Postal Service, we can achieve this goal. This year, the Postal Service will likely be reported loss of more than $9 billion. Without change, our losses will only increase in the years to come. It is vital that Congress enact reform legislation that addresses our unaffordable retirement payments. Most importantly, Congress must allow the postal service to integrate our retiree health benefits program with Medicare. Hearing: Financial State of U.S. Postal Service Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee August 6, 2009 Speakers: John Potter, Former Postmaster General David Williams, Former Inspector General, USPS Clips 46:10 David Williams: The Postal accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 requires the postal service to make 10 annual payments of $5 billion each in addition to the $20 billion already set aside for pre funding its retiree health benefits, the size of the $5 billion payments has little foundation and the current payment method is damaging to the financial viability of the Postal Service even in profitable times. The payment amounts were not actuarially based instead, the required payments were built to ensure that the Postal Act did not affect the federal budget deficit. This seems inexplicable since the Postal Service is not part of the federal budget, does not receive an appropriation for operations and makes its money from the sale of postal services. The payment amounts are fixed through 2016 and do not reflect the funds earnings. Estimates of the Postal Service liability as a result of changing economic circumstances, declining staff size or developments in health Care and pharmaceutical industries. The payments do not take into account the Postal Service's ability to pay and are too challenging even in normal times. 1:10:10 John Potter: And when I look around the world and see what other posts are, if you're in Australia and you want to update your driver's license, renew it, you go to the post office. If you're in Italy and you go into a bank, more than likely going to the post office, if you're in Japan and you want to buy insurance, more than likely you're going to the post office. And if you're in France and you have a cell phone issue, more than likely, again, you're going to the post office. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    CD249: A Few Good Laws

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 20, 2022 108:45

    We have some new laws! In this episode, a brief overview of the government funding law that (finally) funds the government for 2022 and provides money and weapons to Ukraine, a new law that protects drinking water, a new law that slightly reduces the corruption of Puerto Rico's financial oversight board, and a new law that guarantees you rights that corporate contracts have been taking away. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Executive Producer Recommended Congressional Dish Episode CD076: Weapons for the World Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD248: Understanding the Enemy CD244: Keeping Ukraine CD229: Target Belarus CD170: Electrifying Puerto Rico CD147: Controlling Puerto Rico CD128: Crisis in Puerto Rico Recommended Congressional Dish YouTube Videos What is the World Trade System? Revolution of Dignity or Regime Change? Ukraine 2014 Explained. Earmarks Jamie Dupree on Twitter Jamie Dupree. Mar 10, 2022. “Russian oil ban heads to Senate.” Regular Order by Jamie Dupree. Continuing Resolution Mary Ellen McIntire. Mar 9, 2022. “House Democrats' retreat upended by spending bill delays.” Roll Call. Ballotpedia. Updated February 11, 2021. “Election results, 2020: Incumbent win rates by state.” Red Hill Water Contamination Sophia McCullough. Mar 7, 2022. “Pentagon to permanently shut down leaking Red Hill fuel tank facility.” Hawai'i Public Radio. Scott Kim. Mar 4, 2022. “Tap water declared safe for 3 more Pearl Harbor neighborhood zones.” Hawai'i Public Radio. Sophia McCullough. Mar 1, 2022. “Confused about the timeline for the Red Hill fuel storage facility and contaminated water? Read this.” Hawai'i Public Radio. Associated Press, HPR News Staff. Nov 22, 2021. “Navy says 14K gallons of fuel and water leaked from a 'drain line' near the Red Hill facility.” Hawai'i Public Radio. Scott Kim and Catherine Cruz. Oct 27, 2021. “Navy says operator error was the cause of a May fuel leak from the Red Hill storage facility.” Hawai'i Public Radio. Lead Pipes Karen Pinchin. Sep 10, 2019. “The EPA Says Flint's Water is Safe — Scientists Aren't So Sure.” Frontline. Brittany Greeson. “Lead Pipes Are Widespread and Used in Every State.” Natural Resources Defense Council. Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Feb 18, 2019. “Informative Motion Regarding Publication and Filing of Final Investigative Report – McKinsey & Company, Inc.” Case: 17-03283-LTS. Forced Arbitration Matt Stoller. Mar 7, 2022. “Monopolies Take a Fifth of Your Wages.” BIG. Laws H.R.2471 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 House Vote Senate Vote Law Outline DIVISION C: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Title VII: General Provisions Sec. 8139: $300 million from the "Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide" account must be used for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative The money can be used for "salaries and stipends" of Ukraine's military in addition to equipment and support Sec. 8140: Prohibitions against Russia will not be lifted until "the armed forces of the Russian Federation have withdrawn from Crimea, other than armed forces present on military bases" agreed upon by the Russian and Ukrainian governments. Sec. 8141: "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide arms, training or other assistance to the Azov Battalion. DIVISION K - DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS Title VII: General Provisions Sec. 7047: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for the implementation of any action or policy that recognizes the sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea or other territory in Ukraine." This will end when the Secretary of State certifies that "the Government of Ukraine has reestablished sovereignty over Crimea and other territory in Ukraine under the control of Russian-backed separatists." DIVISION N: UKRAINE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT Title I: Department of Agriculture $100 million for Food for Peace grants Title III: Department of Defense $195.5 million for US military personnel $213 million for Air Force procurement $5.5 billion for operations and maintenance $3.5 billion of this is for replacing weapons given to Ukraine and for "defense services" and "military eduction and training" provided to the Government of Ukraine. Title VI: Department of State Authorizes $4 billion for direct loans to Ukraine and NATO countries, along with permission to reduce or cancel their obligations to pay us back. Amount provided this way "shall not be considered assistance for the purposes of provisions of law limiting assistance to a country" $2.65 billion to countries housing Ukrainians refugees for emergency food and shelter $1.4 billion for refugees $1.12 billion for Ukraine and "other countries" - Poland and Hungary in particular - that are enacting IMF economic reforms and expanding the private sector $650 million for the "foreign military financing program" for Ukraine "and countries impacted by the situation" $647 million for the "Economic Support Fund" which can be transferred to fund activities "related to public engagement, messaging, and countering disinformation." Expands the emergency powers of the President in 2022 to allow him to provide $3 billion in military equipment, services and money to foreign countries and international organizations, instead of the usual limit of $100 million per year Increases the amount of weapons that are allowed to be exported from $2.05 billion to $3.1 billion $120 million for "Transition Initiatives" H.R.6617 - Further Additional Extending Government Funding Act Law Outline DIVISION A - FURTHERING ADDITIONAL CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2022 Sec. 101: Extends government funding at 2021 levels until March 11, 2022. Allows the Department of Defense to spend their Operations and Maintenance and emergency funds to respond to the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility spill but caps the spending at $53 million. Adds $250 million to their budget for 2022 to address drinking water contamination caused by the spill. Adds $100 to their budget so they can comply with the Hawaii state order to remove the fuel from the Red Hill facility. H.R.1192 - Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021 House vote: 429-0 Senate: Unanimous Consent Law Outline Sec 2: Disclosure by Professional Persons Seeking Approval of Compensation Under Section 316 or 317 of PROMESA Requires attorneys, accountants, appraisers, auctioneers, agents, and other professional persons to file a disclosure listing their conflicts of interest with debtors, creditors - or their attorneys and accountants - and the oversight board members, directors, and employees. Failure to file the disclosure, or an incomplete disclosure, will prevent that person from being paid. Being "not a disinterested person" or having an "adverse interest" will also disqualify that person from compensation. This will only apply to cases filed AFTER enactment of this law (January 20, 2022) H.R.4445 - Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 Committee Report House Debate Law Outline Sec. 2: Predispute Arbitration of Disputes Involving Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment. Invalidates predispute arbitration clauses in contracts if the person alleging sexual harassment or sexual assault or a representative of a class action lawsuit elects to go to court instead of use arbitration. This will apply whether the case is to be filed in Federal, Tribal, or State court. The decision over where the case will be heard will be made by a court, not by an arbitrator regardless of what is in the contract. Sec 3: Applicability Will only apply to any dispute or claim that "arises or accrues" on or after the date of enactment. Hearings and Debate House Debate on H.R. 1192: Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021 February 23, 2022 Highlighted PDF of debate on the house floor Clips 1:19:09 Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon: Representative Velazquez and myself have proposed this bipartisan initiative in the last two congresses having achieved passage in the house during the last session Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX): In response to dire fiscal issues facing Puerto Rico at the time, Congress passed the Puerto Rico oversight management and economic stability Act, or Preska in 2016. That legislation established the financial oversight and management board with control over Puerto Rico's budget laws, financial plans and regulations and the authority to retain professionals to assist the board in executing its responsibilities. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): The Puerto Rico recovery accuracy in disclosures act of 2021 or product eliminates a double standard currently facing Puerto Rico. On the US Code and federal bankruptcy procedure. Any conflicts of interest or even the perception of such conflict between those working on the bankruptcy and the debtor there are required to be disclosed. However, a loophole in the current law prevents this requirement from being extended to the people of Puerto Rico. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC): Most significantly the gap in the 2016 law created a potential for undisclosed compensation terms and undiscovered conflicts of interest visa vi parties and interest for professional serving in Puerto Rico's bankruptcy. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colon: Learning that someone was involved in businesses of one of the parties in the case only after they are named and working on the case does not create assurance of their commitment to the best interest of Puerto Rico or even managing the depth. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC): This builds disclosure and oversight requirements increase the likelihood that conflicts of interest will be caught and timely addressed before compensation decisions are made. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): While we can have different opinions on how effectively the oversight board is carrying out its mission, one thing should be clear. The island's residents should be entitled to the same rights and protections of any debtor on the mainland. House Debate on H.R.4445 - Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 February 7, 2022 Highlighted PDF of debate on the house floor Clips 9:21 Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN): If H.R. 4445 becomes law contracts will be far less likely to include the option to arbitrate. 10:28 Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN): Why are some in Congress so intent on taking this legislation forward today? For years, Democrats have tried to gut arbitration agreements for all kinds of different claims and plaintiffs. If Democrats had their way, everyone from consumers to civil rights plaintiffs, to those with antitrust claims, to individuals using financial service products and others would not be able to contract in advance to resolve disputes through arbitration. 47:33 Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): We know that if parties can't agree in advance to arbitrate then they are unlikely to agree to arbitrate after there has been a dispute. As a result, the plaintiff may never get to arbitration. Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility: The Current Crisis, the Response, and the Way Forward House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness January 11, 2022 This hearing conducted oversight into the Navy's maintenance of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, the Navy's investigation into and response to the November 2021 release of fuel from Red Hill facility impacting drinking water, its impacts on service members and civilians, clean-up and remediation efforts, and next steps forward. Witnesses: Vice Admiral Yancy Lindsey, Commander, Navy Installations Command Rear Admiral Blake Converse, Deputy Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Admiral John K. Korka, Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos, Supply Corps, United States Navy, Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command and 49th Chief of Supply Corps Captain Michael McGinnis Pacific Fleet Surgeon, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Clips 9:05 Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA): Why does Red Hill exist in the first place? Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had grown concerned about the vulnerability of above ground fuel storage tanks in 1940. The construction began on the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility, a one in a kind engineering innovation that secured the fuel from enemy aerial attack. The facility holds 250 million gallons of fuel in 20 steel lined underground tanks encased in concrete. These tanks are connected to three gravity fed pipelines, running two and a half miles to Pearl Harbor fuel appears. However, a statistic less commonly quoted by the DoD is that the facility is also 100 feet above the groundwater aquifer that provides water to the residents of Oahu. Thus, it has always been the responsibility of the military to ensure that these tanks are maintained in a manner that not only protects the wartime fuel supply, but the people have a Oahu water supply 18:45 Rear Admiral Blake Converse: I want to start by saying that the Navy caused this problem, we own it, and we're gonna fix it. 19:45 Rear Admiral Blake Converse: Beginning on November 28, residents of certain neighborhoods on our Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam here in Hawaii in military housing began recording vapors, discoloration and contamination of the water provided by the Navy. The Red Hill shaft well, which sits near the Navy's Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility was immediately suspected to be the source of this contamination as that was the source of the drinking water for those affected neighborhoods. So it was shut down that evening, November 28. And it just remained isolated since that day. Later, samples from the Red Hill shaft well would confirm the presence of petroleum contamination. 39:40 Captain Michael McGinnis: Medical teams have screened over 5900 patients during this event. The vast majority were conducted within the first two weeks of our response. patient's symptoms were consistent with an acute environmental exposure event. patient's symptoms consistent with the following nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, skin or eye irritation. Once patients were removed from the water source, the symptoms rapidly resolved. 42:12 Rear Admiral Blake Converse: Our best information is that this recent spill was due to operator error. 1:31:45 Rep. Kaiali'i Kahele (D-HI): Tanks number three, number four and number 11 have not been inspected for approximately 40 years. So my question to Navy Supply Systems Command is why are these tanks still in operation? And how can you assure this committee and the people of Hawaii that tanks three, four and 11, that have not even been looked at in the last 40 years, are safe to use and meet current API 653 guidelines for bulk fuel storage underground facilities. Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos: Yes, sir. Thank you for the question. Yes, you are correct. There are tanks, as you mentioned, that have been out of periodicity for quite a long time. 1:41:27 Rep. Jackie Speier: Are the commanding officers and our executive officers that are assigned to Red Hill trained in petroleum management? Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos: I'll take that question ma'am. The answer is no. Impact of Continuing Resolutions on the Department of Defense and Services House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense January 12, 2022 Witnesses: General David H. Berger, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations of the U.S. Navy General Joseph M. Martin, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Mike McCord, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) General John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations of the U.S. Space Force Clips 29:51 Mike McCord: First, as I believe you're all aware a full year CR, we reduce our funding level below what we requested and what we believe we need. On the surface at the department level as a whole, the reduction to our accounts would appear to be about a billion dollars below our request, which would be significant. Even if that was the only impact. The actual reduction in practice will be much greater. Because we would have significant funding that's misaligned, trapped or frozen in the wrong places and unusable because we don't have the tools or flexibilities to realign funds on anything like the scam we would need to fix all the problems that the chiefs are going to describe. 30:27 Mike McCord: I know all of you are very familiar with the fact that virtually all military construction projects in each year's budget including the FY 22 budget are new starts that cannot be executed under a CR. 34:00 Mike McCord: The six longest CRs in the history of the Defense Department have all occurred in this last 12 year period. We have turned a 12 month fiscal year into an eight month fiscal year in terms of our ability to initiate new starts and enter contracts. This should be unacceptable and not the new normal. It's hard to see this full impact because or in the inefficiency from looking from outside because the organization has of course adapted to its circumstances just as organisms do. Nobody plans to enter into contracts in the first quarter of a fiscal year now because the odds that we would actually be able to do so are so low. Therefore we in turn, have no significant contract delays to report to you when we're under a CR. 1:44:02 Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI): This is about decreasing domestic spending and increasing defense spending. 1:44:20 **Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN):**This was my effort to quash those who are talking about year long CRs. No one on the Appropriations Committee is, yet you see things in the news. And unfortunately, sir, it's usually from your side of the aisle, and I'll pull it again. And it's a December 1 quote, and I can get you the gentlemen, the person who said it. Republicans should be in favor of a CR until Biden is out of office, so they're not going to talk about a one year CR. That would be the proper Republican thing to do. And anybody saying otherwise is deeply foolish. I know you and I, sir, do not agree with that sentiment. And my my goal here is to educate other members who don't understand the appropriations process as well as you and I, and many other of our colleagues that we serve alongside with. Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadows House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law January 16, 2019 Witnesses: Eliza Dushku, Actor/Producer & Graduate Student Myriam Gilles, Professor of Law, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Lora Henry, Canton, OH Andowah Newton, New York, NY Sarah Parshall Perry, Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation Tatiana Spottiswoode, Law Student, Columbia Law School Anna St. John, President and General Counsel, Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute Clips 30:59 Anna St. John: Instead, it's worth considering that taking away the possibility of arbitration for these victims is a top-down, heavy handed approach that denies them the advantages of arbitration as a means of adjudicating their claims. 41:04 Sarah Parshall Perry: Since the 1980s, the progressive leadership of this and the upper chamber has sought to curtail the protections of the Federal Arbitration Act through bills including the Arbitration Fairness Act, Arbitration Fairness for Students Act, Consumer Mobile Fairness Act, Fairness and Nursing Homes Act, Sonsumer Fairness Act, Restoring Statutory Rights and Interests of the States Act, the Forced Arbitration Justice Repeal Act and many, many more. 47:13 Sarah Parshall Perry: arbitration agreements are not mandatory. No one, and the Supreme Court has held, is forced to sign a contract. But curtailing access to arbitration would injure, in the end, the very people that Congress has sought for nearly a century to protect. 54:50 Myriam Gilles: First, the entire regime is shrouded in secrecy. And not just because victims want to keep these issues confidential, which by the way is up to them, right? They should have the autonomy and the choice to decide. But because companies want to keep this stuff under wraps, they want to hide and shield sexual predators, and they don't want their business in the public eye. They don't want to deal with regulators or even with lawsuits. The secrecy here on its own just makes this a terrible way to deal with sexual harassment because it means that victims of sexual violence in the workplace who bravely tried to come forward are prohibited from telling their stories in a public forum. Instead, they're forced into this private process where everything is under wraps and siloed. Right, so this is the second bad thing. Victims can join together, even when their injuries stem from the same wrongdoing, even when they've occurred at the hands of the same perpetrator. Even when the company's tolerance for sexual harassment is structural and pervasive. Victims have to go it alone, never knowing about one another. They have to go into arbitration single file. I don't know where all these statistics are coming from about how great arbitration is how people win it all the time, because the truth is, no one goes into arbitration because it's siloed because it's secret because they don't know about what else is going on in the workplace. The secrecy that blankets these individualized proceedings prevents one victim from ever learning whether others right in the cubicle next to them might have experienced the same, the same tragedies, the same traumas and when vid when survivors are in the dark about cases filed by others in the workplace that makes coming forward that makes being the first person to come forward that much harder. As a corollary, and this is an important corollary, the relief that is available to the individual claimant doesn't prevent the wrongdoer from preying on other women doesn't prevent the predator from having all sorts of misconduct against other women in the workplace. The proceedings are one on one and the relief that arbitrators are allowed by contract to grant is individualized. They can't ever order any changes beyond what can help this one individual that happens to have the courage to come before them. I mean, can you imagine a worse system for dealing with toxic corporate culture because I can't. Third, and I think this is really important and all the survivors who've spoken about this forced arbitration is a system where the employers write the rules, and they pick the arbitral provider. Which means that victims of sexual harassment are shunted into a regime that stacked against them from the get go. First, because the arbitrators economic interest is to be very good to the repeat player employer so that they can be chosen for another arbitration next time. So the repeat player problem has been well documented, and I think it's alive and well in arbitration. And the secrecy protects that. And second, because the employer designs the entire arbitration process, it does so to serve its interests, not the interests of its workers, but its interests which again, are to keep discrimination and harassment under a veil of secrecy and out of the public eye. So given all of these things, given how bad this system is for victims of sexual harassment, it's no wonder that so few ever decide to go into private arbitration. I wouldn't. I think it sounds terrible. 1:04:00 Myriam Gilles: When an arbitration complaint is filed, it's filed in secret. In other words, the only entities that know that the arbitration has even been filed are the the employer, the employer, the complaining employee and the arbitration entity. The AAA or JAMS are one of these arbitration providers. Nobody else knows. Contrast that with court. I go down to the DC District Court today and I file a complaint, that complaint is on the public record. Right. And so as the defendants answer or motion to dismiss all the pleadings, their public litigation in the public court system, it has power, and the power it has is the power of signaling, not only to the defendant that I've sued, but to all similarly situated defendants that this is a wrong. This person has complained about something she's told her story, and she plans to prove it. None of that happens in arbitration from the beginning. It is private throughout the entire proceeding, which is held in a secret location, no public no press. All of it is private. Arbitrators don't write decisions. There are only three states in the union that currently require minimal disclosure of arbitrations pretty redacted and hard to read. If you're a researcher like I am about these issues. Other than that, everything that happens in arbitration is a black box. 1:32:18 Tatiana Spottiswoode: And the forced arbitration is so unfair. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): I understand you you think forced arbitration is unfair, that's great. Most of the people on that side want to eliminate it for everything not just situations like this. Other representative: will the gentleman yield for a question? Rep. Darrell Issa: I will not. 1:49:15 Myriam Gilles: The FAA was enacted in 1925. But it was enacted so that sophisticated business people could negotiate for arbitration provisions and those provisions would be respected by courts. It was never intended to be imposed via standard form contract. And in fact, if you read the legislative history, if you read the legislation, it accepts and exempts employees. So the idea that the FAA applies to employees is something that was created by a conservative majority of the Supreme Court in 1991, in a case called Circuit City, sorry, first actually was Gilmer and then Circuit City, I can't keep all the bad cases straight. And those are the cases in which the Court interpreted, I would say misinterpreted, the FAA to apply to employees like this. So that now employers can just stick these clauses into job applications, orientation materials, even an innocuous email from HR can include a forced arbitration clause. That was not what the 1925 Congress intended they they'd be rolled, they should be rolling in their in their grades. This is not what they intended. This is what a Supreme Court intent on protecting corporations intended beginning in the 1990s. 2:39:26 Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN): You know what's happened to so many women and others in the workplace is terrible but I really am concerned that by involving the government in these contracts between adults in the area of sexual harassment and assault we're opening a door for more government involvement in other areas of contracts. 2:42:09 Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN): And I would argue that you have you sign it it is not you know even though we use the it's forced arbitration as people are saying it's not really you you have signed something that you have agreed to it. Justice Denied: Forced Arbitration and the Erosion of Our Legal System House Committee on the Judiciary November 16, 2021 Witnesses: Gretchen Carlson, Journalist and Advocate Myriam Gilles, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Phil Goldberg, Managing Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. Deepak Gupta, Founding Principal, Gupta Wessler PLLC Andrew Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown L.L.P. Lieutenant Commander Kevin Ziober, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy Reserves Clips 26:35 Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI): You'll hear a different view from me. Eliminating arbitration achieves one thing, it enriches trial attorneys. 29:11 Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI): The AAJ, or American Association for Justice, is the nice sounding name of the plaintiffs attorneys lobbying organization. It also happens to be a huge donor to Democratic candidates, contributing millions of dollars each cycle to their campaigns. 29:52 Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, point of order. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) What is your point of order? Rep. Jamie Raskin: My question is just can we impute the policy positions that members of the committee take to campaign contributions? Because if so, I think I'd be doing it a lot more frequently. I thought that's something that we don't do. Rep. David Cicilline: It's an excellent point of order, I'm sure Mr. Sensenbrenner didn't intend to communicate that in that way. Rep. Jamie Raskin: We're gonna be hearing a lot more of that in our committee if that's permissible, but I'm just curious. Maybe we can have some research done. Rep. James Sensenbrenner: Will the gentleman yield? Rep. David Cicilline: I think we don't need to engage with you. I this is an important issue with strongly held beliefs on both sides. [crosstalk] 36:00 Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY): We used to have a concept in law. When I went to law school they still taught it called contracts of adhesion where a contract was unenforceable if one party had no choice in entering into it. All of these arbitration clauses almost are contracts of adhesion. You try when you want to get a credit card, try crossing out the fine print if you can find it without the magnifying glass that that says that you will settle all all disputes in arbitration, cross it out, see if you get the credit card. See if you get the bank loans if you get the mortgage. You have no see if you get the car loan, you have no choice. 1:42:00 Gretchen Carlson: arbitration means that you have no way of knowing that anyone else is facing the same thing within the confines of the workplace structure. There's no way to know because the whole process is secret. And as I described during my testimony, if you do muster up the courage to go and complain, and you have an arbitration clause, that's a good day for the company, because no one will ever know anything about your story. The worst ramification of all of this is that the perpetrator gets to stay in the job. And I think one of the reasons that we've seen this cultural revolution that we're experiencing right now is because the American public was actually so angry about hearing about these stories, and they were wondering, why didn't we know about this? And the reason they didn't know about it, is because of forced arbitration. 2:00:30 Deepak Gupta: I've gone back and looked at the history of the act from 1925. People weren't blind to the possibility of abuse. They raised these concerns before this, this committee, in fact, and the and the architects of the legislation were clear, this is about letting businesses have equal bargaining power that want to resolve their disputes out of court, letting them do that, and I have no objection to that. That makes perfect sense. But but the the drafters were clear this is not about foisting this on people who don't consent through, take it or leave it contracts. And in fact, Congress put in a provision section one of the Federal Arbitration Act that says this shall not apply to any class of workers. Remarkably, the Supreme Court has read that language to mean precisely the opposite. And now it can apply to any class of workers. And so so we have just we've strayed so far away from what Congress intended in 1925. And that's why only this body Congress can set things right. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    united states american new york president peace house water law state professor food russia joe biden government elections failure russian partner ukraine revolution chief congress north hawaii defense legal court republicans supreme court impact laws democrats journalists navy act senate puerto rico operations federal democratic poland secretary air force sec operation agriculture nato confused managing partners ukrainian pentagon tap donations victims commander hungary maintenance aaa dignity api frontline sexual assault disclosure clips eliminating tribal american association associated press sexual harassment contrast pearl harbor adds increases fairness amount interests canton faa imf general counsel jams dod expands shook antitrust hawai hearings filing crimea united states navy oahu house democrats extends erosion sexual violence judiciary remarkably district court under secretary defense department roll call fy crs russian federation public radio law students hwy commandant subcommittee regime change incumbent public law lts gretchen carlson red hill natural resources defense council appropriations circuit city lieutenant commander founding principal arbitrators gilmer every state 14k management board prohibitions naval operations congressional dish vice chief ballotpedia music alley consolidated appropriations act judicial studies appropriations committee crestview space operations anna st edwin meese iii center deepak gupta us code sensenbrenner federal arbitration act states act preska jamie dupree cover art design david ippolito naval supply systems command
    CD248: Understanding the Enemy

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 27, 2022 88:27

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an illegal, unjustified war against Ukraine and Putin himself is the only person who can stop the war immediately. In this episode, we seek to understand why President Putin has launched this horrific war in order to judge our country's ability to bring the war to a quicker end. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD244: Keeping Ukraine CD186: National Endowment for Democracy CD168: Nuclear Desperation Ukraine Civil War Alan MacLeod. Feb 22, 2022. “Documents Reveal US Spent $22 Million Promoting Anti-Russia Narrative in Ukraine & Abroad.” The Washington Standard. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Oct 8, 2021. “Conflict-related civilian casualties in Ukraine.” United Nations. Andrew Higgins and Peter Baker. Feb 6, 2014. “Russia Claims U.S. Is Meddling Over Ukraine.” The New York Times. NATO Expansion Becky Sullivan. Updated Feb 24, 2022. “How NATO's expansion helped drive Putin to invade Ukraine.” NPR. Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov. Dec 17, 2021. “Russia Demands NATO Pullback in Security Talks With U.S.” Bloomberg. Joe Dyke. Mar 20, 2021. “NATO Killed Civilians in Libya. It's Time to Admit It.” Foreign Policy. NATO. Updated May 5, 2020. “Enlargement.” NATO. 2020. “The Secretary General's Annual Report.” National Security Archive. December 12, 2017. “NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard.” Arms Control Association. “The Debate Over NATO Expansion: A Critique of the Clinton Administration's Responses to Key Questions.” “Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts.)” February 9, 1990. National Security Archive. “Ukraine: The Orange Revolution and the Yushchenko Presidency.” In The Encyclopedia Britannica. NATO in Ukraine Xinhua. Nov 14, 2021. “Ukraine, NATO countries hold naval drills in Black Sea.” News.cn Chad Menegay and Aimee Valles. Sept 22, 2021. “US, NATO, Ukraine enhance interoperability with Rapid Trident exercise.” NationalGuard.mil Reuters. April 3, 2021. “Ukraine and Britain to Hold Joint Military Drills.” U.S. News and World Report. NATO Allied Maritime Command. Mar 17, 2021. “NATO forces train with the Ukrainian Navy.” European Deterrence Initiative Paul Belkin and Hibbah Kaileh. Updated July 1, 2021. “The European Deterrence Initiative: A Budgetary Overview” [IF10946.] Congressional Research Service. Weapons Treaties TASS. Feb 21, 2022. “Europe won't understand Kiev talking of regaining nuclear weapons — Russian diplomat.” Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation. Updated March 2021. “Fact Sheet: Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.” Arms Control Association. Last reviewed August 2019. “The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at a Glance.” General Dynamics General Dynamics. “Corporate Governance: Board of Directors.” Russia-China Alliance Chen Aizhu. Feb 4, 2022. “Russia, China agree 30-year gas deal via new pipeline, to settle in euros.” Reuters. Robin Brant. Feb 4, 2022. “China joins Russia in opposing Nato expansion.” BBC News. Sanctions Matina Stevis-Gridneff. Feb 25, 2022. “European Leaders Agree to a Second Wave of Russia Sanctions.” The New York Times. Congressional Response Joe Gould. Feb 22, 2022. “Emergency funding proposal for Ukraine gets bipartisan backing in Congress.” Defense News. Reuters. Feb 25, 2022. “U.S. providing $600 mln for Ukraine defensive weapons -House Speaker Pelosi.” Reuters. Images State Property Fund of Ukraine USAID Partnership Audio Sources House Speaker Weekly Briefing February 23, 2022 YouTube Version Overview: At her weekly briefing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), along with several of her Democratic colleagues, talked about the situation in Ukraine and President Biden's sanctions after Russia recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region. Clips 10:25 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): Putin is terrified by the prospect of a democracy at his border. A democracy, giving an example to the Russian people of the kind of life and economy they might enjoy if they cast aside their own autocrat. This is, I think, one of the preeminent motivations of Vladimir Putin. 15:32 Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA): I chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign operations, which oversees many of the resources to assist the Ukrainian people through this crisis. This includes our economic assistance to Ukraine, including loan guarantees. Economic assistance would come through the economic support accounts for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia, those of the accounts that would come through. Without getting in too many of the weeds, I wanted to just mention that because it's an effort that we're looking at now in terms of our funding. It also includes humanitarian plans, including funding for refugees, God forbid, and for those internally displaced by conflict. The administration has committed to us that in the event of conflict, there is a need over the next 12 months of at least $1 billion for humanitarian needs. So I support the efforts of the administration also to bolster Ukraine's economy, including the proposed $1 billion in loan guarantees to continue with Ukraine's economic reforms. 22:08 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): I will just close by saying this: I had the privilege of going with President Clinton, who invited four members of Congress House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, the Senate Democrat was Senator Joe Biden. And we went to the expansion of NATO meeting in Paris. And it was all the heads of state of the then NATO countries who spoke and it was so beautiful because they all spoke in such a positive way about NATO. We thought like we were NATO and they were also NATO, they had ownership and agency in possession of the NATO possibilities. The representative of Russia who was there was Boris Yeltsin. And he was very ebullient, but he was welcoming to what was called was the expansion we had supported in our own country, the Baltic States, Poland, others countries becoming what was called the Partnership for Peace and it included many countries. Now Putin is saying push it back to pre-1997. Don't ever try to add another country and remove weapons out of Eastern Europe. That's what he wanted. No, that was not going to happen. 33:35 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): What is this about? The people of Hung -- many of us have visited Ukraine and have seen that they love democracy. They do not want to live under Vladimir Putin. He does not want the Russian people to see what democracy looks like. And therefore he wants to bring them under his domain. 35:15 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): When we talk about the president, he's doing the sanctions. He has a full picture of all this. As I said, he was present there the day of the expansion of NATO. I saw the respect he commanded then, and that was 1997, by the heads of state of all those countries, and of course, that has only grown over time, by his leadership, but also the expansion of NATO. I think we're very well served, I respect his judgement. And again, it's not just about when you do the sanctions, or how you support the people. It's about how the world views what Putin is doing. This is a very evil move on the part of Vladimir Putin. President Biden Remarks on Russia and Ukraine February 22, 2022 YouTube Version Transcript Overview: During an address, President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin sending Russian troops into separatist regions of Ukraine. Clips 1:57 President Biden So, today, I'm announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our Allies and partners, and we'll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates. We're implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: V.E.B. and their military bank. We're implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we've cut off Russia's government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either. Starting tomorrow [today] and continuing in the days ahead, we will also impose sanctions on Russia's elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well. And because of Russia's actions, we've worked with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 will not — as I promised — will not move forward. 3:23 President Biden: Today, in response to Russia's admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I have authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic Allies — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Let me be clear: These are totally defensive moves on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the United States, together with our Allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO. 4:22 President Biden: Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, including war planes and offensive missile systems. Russia has moved troops closer to Ukraine's border with Russia. Russia's naval vessels are maneuvering in the Black Sea to Ukraine's south, including amphibious assault ships, missile cruisers, and submarines. Russia has moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position on their border. You don't need blood unless you plan on starting a war. 6:25 President Biden: I'm going to take robust action and make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours. We are closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption. We're executing a plan in coordination with major oil-producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies. This will be — this will blunt gas prices. I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me. 7:37 President Biden: Yesterday, the world heard clearly the full extent of Vladimir Putin's twisted rewrite of history, going back more than a century, as he waxed eloquently, noting that — well, I'm not going to go into it, but nothing in Putin's lengthy remarks indicated any interest in pursuing real dialogue on European security in the year 2022. 8:04 President Biden: He directly attacked Ukraine's right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met. And there is no question that Russia is the aggressor. Russian President Putin Statement on Ukraine February 21, 2022 YouTube Version Transcript Overview: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced after a Security Council meeting that Russia would recognize the independence of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine's Donbas region. Clips 00:15 President Putin: I would like to emphasise again that Ukraine is not just a neighbouring country for us. It is an inalienable part of our own history, culture and spiritual space. These are our comrades, those dearest to us – not only colleagues, friends and people who once served together, but also relatives, people bound by blood, by family ties. 1:22 President Putin: I would like to start by saying that the modern Ukraine was completely created by Russia. To be more exact, Bolshevist, partially communist Russia. This process started almost immediately after the 1917 revolutions, leading and planning and his group of supporters did it in a rough way. If we talk about Russia, they were alienating parts of historical territories of Russia. And millions of people who live there, obviously no one asked anything. Then before the Great Patriotic War, Stalin added to the USSR and handed over some lands that belonged to Poland and Hungary, and as a compensation gave some ancient German lands to Poland. And the 1960s crucial decision to take Crimea away from Russia and also gave it to Ukraine. That's how the territory of Soviet Ukraine was formed. 3:05 President Putin: We cannot help but react to this real threat, especially since I would like to reiterate that Western backers they can help Ukraine with getting this weapon to create yet another threat for our country because we can see how consistently they are pumping Ukraine with weapons. The United States alone starting from 2014 transferred billions of dollars including the arm supply training personnel. In recent months, Western weapons are sent to Ukraine given ceaselessly in front of the eyes of the entire world 7:05 President Putin: Actually, as I have already said, Soviet Ukraine is the result of the Bolsheviks' policy and can be rightfully called “Vladimir Lenin's Ukraine.” He was its creator and architect. This is fully and comprehensively corroborated by archival documents, including Lenin's harsh instructions regarding Donbass, which was actually shoved into Ukraine. And today the “grateful progeny” has overturned monuments to Lenin in Ukraine. They call it decommunization. You want decommunization? Very well, this suits us just fine. But why stop halfway? We are ready to show what real decommunizations would mean for Ukraine. 9:31 President Putin: Everything seemed to be working well in conditions of the totalitarian regime, and outwardly it looked wonderful, attractive and even super-democratic. And yet, it is a great pity that the fundamental and formally legal foundations of our state were not promptly cleansed of the odious and utopian fantasies inspired by the revolution, which are absolutely destructive for any normal state. 10:05 President Putin: It seems that the Communist Party leaders were convinced that they had created a solid system of government and that their policies had settled the ethnic issue for good. But falsification, misconception, and tampering with public opinion have a high cost. The virus of nationalist ambitions is still with us, and the mine laid at the initial stage to destroy state immunity to the disease of nationalism was ticking. As I have already said, the mine was the right of secession from the Soviet Union. 13:55 President Putin: Even two years before the collapse of the USSR, its fate was actually predetermined. It is now that radicals and nationalists, including and primarily those in Ukraine, are taking credit for having gained independence. As we can see, this is absolutely wrong. The disintegration of our united country was brought about by the historic, strategic mistakes on the part of the Bolshevik leaders and the CPSU leadership, mistakes committed at different times in state-building and in economic and ethnic policies. The collapse of the historical Russia known as the USSR is on their conscience. 14:39 President Putin: It was our people who accepted the new geopolitical reality that took shape after the dissolution of the USSR, and recognised the new independent states. Not only did Russia recognise these countries, but helped its CIS partners, even though it faced a very dire situation itself. This included our Ukrainian colleagues, who turned to us for financial support many times from the very moment they declared independence. Our country provided this assistance while respecting Ukraine's dignity and sovereignty. According to expert assessments, confirmed by a simple calculation of our energy prices, the subsidised loans Russia provided to Ukraine along with economic and trade preferences, the overall benefit for the Ukrainian budget in the period from 1991 to 2013 amounted to $250 billion. 21:24 President Putin: A stable statehood has never developed in Ukraine; its electoral and other political procedures just serve as a cover, a screen for the redistribution of power and property between various oligarchic clans. Corruption, which is certainly a challenge and a problem for many countries, including Russia, has gone beyond the usual scope in Ukraine. It has literally permeated and corroded Ukrainian statehood, the entire system, and all branches of power. Radical nationalists took advantage of the justified public discontent and saddled the Maidan protest, escalating it to a coup d'état in 2014. They also had direct assistance from foreign states. According to reports, the US Embassy provided $1 million a day to support the so-called protest camp on Independence Square in Kiev. In addition, large amounts were impudently transferred directly to the opposition leaders' bank accounts, tens of millions of dollars. 23:37 President Putin: Maidan did not bring Ukraine any closer to democracy and progress. Having accomplished a coup d'état, the nationalists and those political forces that supported them eventually led Ukraine into an impasse, pushed the country into the abyss of civil war. 26:30 President Putin: In fact, it all came down to the fact that the collapse of the Ukrainian economy was accompanied by outright robbery of the citizens of the country, and Ukraine itself was simply driven under external control. It is carried out not only at the behest of Western capitals, but also, as they say, directly on the spot through a whole network of foreign advisers, NGOs and other institutions deployed in Ukraine. They have a direct impact on all the most important personnel decisions, on all branches and levels of government: from the central and even to the municipal, on the main state-owned companies and corporations, including Naftogaz, Ukrenergo, Ukrainian Railways, Ukroboronprom, Ukrposhta , Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine. There is simply no independent court in Ukraine. At the request of the West, the Kiev authorities gave representatives of international organizations the pre-emptive right to select members of the highest judicial bodies - the Council of Justice and the Qualification Commission of Judges. In addition, the US Embassy directly controls the National Corruption Prevention Agency, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, and the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court. All this is done under a plausible pretext to increase the effectiveness of the fight against corruption. Okay, but where are the results? Corruption has blossomed as luxuriantly, and blooms, more than ever. Are the Ukrainians themselves aware of all these managerial methods? Do they understand that their country is not even under a political and economic protectorate, but reduced to the level of a colony with a puppet regime? The privatization of the state has led to the fact that the government, which calls itself the "power of patriots", has lost its national character and is consistently leading the matter towards the complete desovereignization of the country. 31:04 President Putin: In March 2021, a new Military Strategy was adopted in Ukraine. This document is almost entirely dedicated to confrontation with Russia and sets the goal of involving foreign states in a conflict with our country. The strategy stipulates the organisation of what can be described as a terrorist underground movement in Russia's Crimea and in Donbass. It also sets out the contours of a potential war, which should end, according to the Kiev strategists, “with the assistance of the international community on favourable terms for Ukraine.” 32:05 President Putin: As we know, it has already been stated today that Ukraine intends to create its own nuclear weapons, and this is not just bragging. Ukraine has the nuclear technologies created back in the Soviet times and delivery vehicles for such weapons, including aircraft, as well as the Soviet-designed Tochka-U precision tactical missiles with a range of over 100 kilometres. But they can do more; it is only a matter of time. They have had the groundwork for this since the Soviet era. In other words, acquiring tactical nuclear weapons will be much easier for Ukraine than for some other states I am not going to mention here, which are conducting such research, especially if Kiev receives foreign technological support. 33:47 President Putin: Foreign advisors supervise the activities of Ukraine's armed forces and special services and we are well aware of this. Over the past few years, military contingents of NATO countries have been almost constantly present on Ukrainian territory under the pretext of exercises. The Ukrainian troop control system has already been integrated into NATO. This means that NATO headquarters can issue direct commands to the Ukrainian armed forces, even to their separate units and squads. The United States and NATO have started an impudent development of Ukrainian territory as a theatre of potential military operations. Their regular joint exercises are obviously anti-Russian. Last year alone, over 23,000 troops and more than a thousand units of hardware were involved. A law has already been adopted that allows foreign troops to come to Ukraine in 2022 to take part in multinational drills. Understandably, these are primarily NATO troops. This year, at least ten of these joint drills are planned. Obviously, such undertakings are designed to be a cover-up for a rapid buildup of the NATO military group on Ukrainian territory. This is all the more so since the network of airfields upgraded with US help in Borispol, Ivano-Frankovsk, Chuguyev and Odessa, to name a few, is capable of transferring army units in a very short time. Ukraine's airspace is open to flights by US strategic and reconnaissance aircraft and drones that conduct surveillance over Russian territory. I will add that the US-built Maritime Operations Centre in Ochakov makes it possible to support activity by NATO warships, including the use of precision weapons, against the Russian Black Sea Fleet and our infrastructure on the entire Black Sea Coast. 36:54 President Putin: Article 17 of the Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that deploying foreign military bases on its territory is illegal. However, as it turns out, this is just a conventionality that can be easily circumvented. Ukraine is home to NATO training missions which are, in fact, foreign military bases. They just called a base a mission and were done with it. 37:16 President Putin: Kiev has long proclaimed a strategic course on joining NATO. Indeed, each country is entitled to pick its own security system and enter into military alliances. There would be no problem with that, if it were not for one “but.” International documents expressly stipulate the principle of equal and indivisible security, which includes obligations not to strengthen one's own security at the expense of the security of other states. This is stated in the 1999 OSCE Charter for European Security adopted in Istanbul and the 2010 OSCE Astana Declaration. In other words, the choice of pathways towards ensuring security should not pose a threat to other states, whereas Ukraine joining NATO is a direct threat to Russia's security 38:10 President Putin: Let me remind you that at the Bucharest NATO summit held in April 2008, the United States pushed through a decision to the effect that Ukraine and, by the way, Georgia would become NATO members. Many European allies of the United States were well aware of the risks associated with this prospect already then, but were forced to put up with the will of their senior partner. The Americans simply used them to carry out a clearly anti-Russian policy. 38:41 President Putin: A number of NATO member states are still very sceptical about Ukraine joining NATO. We are getting signals from some European capitals telling us not to worry since it will not happen literally overnight. In fact, our US partners are saying the same thing as well. “All right, then” we respond, “if it does not happen tomorrow, then it will happen the day after tomorrow. What does it change from the historical perspective? Nothing at all.” Furthermore, we are aware of the US leadership's position and words that active hostilities in eastern Ukraine do not rule out the possibility of that country joining NATO if it meets NATO criteria and overcomes corruption. All the while, they are trying to convince us over and over again that NATO is a peace-loving and purely defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia. Again, they want us to take their word for it. But we are well aware of the real value of these words. In 1990, when German unification was discussed, the United States promised the Soviet leadership that NATO jurisdiction or military presence will not expand one inch to the east and that the unification of Germany will not lead to the spread of NATO's military organisation to the east. This is a quote. They issued lots of verbal assurances, all of which turned out to be empty phrases. Later, they began to assure us that the accession to NATO by Central and Eastern European countries would only improve relations with Moscow, relieve these countries of the fears steeped in their bitter historical legacy, and even create a belt of countries that are friendly towards Russia. However, the exact opposite happened. The governments of certain Eastern European countries, speculating on Russophobia, brought their complexes and stereotypes about the Russian threat to the Alliance and insisted on building up the collective defence potentials and deploying them primarily against Russia. Worse still, that happened in the 1990s and the early 2000s when, thanks to our openness and goodwill, relations between Russia and the West had reached a high level. Russia has fulfilled all of its obligations, including the pullout from Germany, from Central and Eastern Europe, making an immense contribution to overcoming the legacy of the Cold War. We have consistently proposed various cooperation options, including in the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE formats. Moreover, I will say something I have never said publicly, I will say it now for the first time. When then outgoing US President Bill Clinton visited Moscow in 2000, I asked him how America would feel about admitting Russia to NATO. I will not reveal all the details of that conversation, but the reaction to my question was, let us say, quite restrained, and the Americans' true attitude to that possibility can actually be seen from their subsequent steps with regard to our country. I am referring to the overt support for terrorists in the North Caucasus, the disregard for our security demands and concerns, NATO's continued expansion, withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and so on. 43:05 President Putin: Today, one glance at the map is enough to see to what extent Western countries have kept their promise to refrain from NATO's eastward expansion. They just cheated. We have seen five waves of NATO expansion, one after another – Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were admitted in 1999; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004; Albania and Croatia in 2009; Montenegro in 2017; and North Macedonia in 2020. As a result, the Alliance, its military infrastructure has reached Russia's borders. This is one of the key causes of the European security crisis; it has had the most negative impact on the entire system of international relations and led to the loss of mutual trust. The situation continues to deteriorate, including in the strategic area. Thus, positioning areas for interceptor missiles are being established in Romania and Poland as part of the US project to create a global missile defence system. It is common knowledge that the launchers deployed there can be used for Tomahawk cruise missiles – offensive strike systems. In addition, the United States is developing its all-purpose Standard Missile-6, which can provide air and missile defence, as well as strike ground and surface targets. In other words, the allegedly defensive US missile defence system is developing and expanding its new offensive capabilities. The information we have gives us good reason to believe that Ukraine's accession to NATO and the subsequent deployment of NATO facilities has already been decided and is only a matter of time. We clearly understand that given this scenario, the level of military threats to Russia will increase dramatically, several times over. 45:07 President Putin: I will explain that American strategic planning documents confirm the possibility of a so-called preemptive strike at enemy missile systems. We also know the main adversary of the United States and NATO. It is Russia. NATO documents officially declare our country to be the main threat to Euro-Atlantic security. Ukraine will serve as an advanced bridgehead for such a strike. 46:00 President Putin: Many Ukrainian airfields are located not far from our borders. NATO's tactical aviation deployed there, including precision weapon carriers, will be capable of striking at our territory to the depth of the Volgograd-Kazan-Samara-Astrakhan line. The deployment of reconnaissance radars on Ukrainian territory will allow NATO to tightly control Russia's airspace up to the Urals. Finally, after the US destroyed the INF Treaty, the Pentagon has been openly developing many land-based attack weapons, including ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 5,500 km. If deployed in Ukraine, such systems will be able to hit targets in Russia's entire European part. The flying time of Tomahawk cruise missiles to Moscow will be less than 35 minutes; ballistic missiles from Kharkov will take seven to eight minutes; and hypersonic assault weapons, four to five minutes. It is like a knife to the throat. I have no doubt that they hope to carry out these plans, as they did many times in the past, expanding NATO eastward, moving their military infrastructure to Russian borders and fully ignoring our concerns, protests and warnings. Excuse me, but they simply did not care at all about such things and did whatever they deemed necessary. Of course, they are going to behave in the same way in the future. 47:46 President Putin: Russia has always advocated the resolution of the most complicated problems by political and diplomatic means, at the negotiating table. We are well aware of our enormous responsibility when it comes to regional and global stability. Back in 2008, Russia put forth an initiative to conclude a European Security Treaty under which not a single Euro-Atlantic state or international organisation could strengthen their security at the expense of the security of others. However, our proposal was rejected right off the bat on the pretext that Russia should not be allowed to put limits on NATO activities. Furthermore, it was made explicitly clear to us that only NATO members can have legally binding security guarantees. 48:35 President Putin: Last December, we handed over to our Western partners a draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on security guarantees, as well as a draft agreement on measures to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and NATO member states. The United States and NATO responded with general statements. There were kernels of rationality in them as well, but they concerned matters of secondary importance and it all looked like an attempt to drag the issue out and to lead the discussion astray. We responded to this accordingly and pointed out that we were ready to follow the path of negotiations, provided, however, that all issues are considered as a package that includes Russia's core proposals which contain three key points. First, to prevent further NATO expansion. Second, to have the Alliance refrain from deploying assault weapon systems on Russian borders. And finally, rolling back the bloc's military capability and infrastructure in Europe to where they were in 1997, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed. These principled proposals of ours have been ignored. 50:21 President Putin: They are again trying to blackmail us and are threatening us with sanctions, which, by the way, they will introduce no matter what as Russia continues to strengthen its sovereignty and its Armed Forces. To be sure, they will never think twice before coming up with or just fabricating a pretext for yet another sanction attack regardless of the developments in Ukraine. Their one and only goal is to hold back the development of Russia. 51:06 President Putin: I would like to be clear and straightforward: in the current circumstances, when our proposals for an equal dialogue on fundamental issues have actually remained unanswered by the United States and NATO, when the level of threats to our country has increased significantly, Russia has every right to respond in order to ensure its security. That is exactly what we will do. 51:33 President Putin: With regard to the state of affairs in Donbass, we see that the ruling Kiev elites never stop publicly making clear their unwillingness to comply with the Minsk Package of Measures to settle the conflict and are not interested in a peaceful settlement. On the contrary, they are trying to orchestrate a blitzkrieg in Donbass as was the case in 2014 and 2015. We all know how these reckless schemes ended. Not a single day goes by without Donbass communities coming under shelling attacks. The recently formed large military force makes use of attack drones, heavy equipment, missiles, artillery and multiple rocket launchers. The killing of civilians, the blockade, the abuse of people, including children, women and the elderly, continues unabated. As we say, there is no end in sight to this. Meanwhile, the so-called civilised world, which our Western colleagues proclaimed themselves the only representatives of, prefers not to see this, as if this horror and genocide, which almost 4 million people are facing, do not exist. But they do exist and only because these people did not agree with the West-supported coup in Ukraine in 2014 and opposed the transition towards the Neanderthal and aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism which have been elevated in Ukraine to the rank of national policy. They are fighting for their elementary right to live on their own land, to speak their own language, and to preserve their culture and traditions. How long can this tragedy continue? How much longer can one put up with this? Russia has done everything to preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity. All these years, it has persistently and patiently pushed for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2202 of February 17, 2015, which consolidated the Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015, to settle the situation in Donbass. Everything was in vain. Presidents and Rada deputies come and go, but deep down the aggressive and nationalistic regime that seized power in Kiev remains unchanged. It is entirely a product of the 2014 coup, and those who then embarked on the path of violence, bloodshed and lawlessness did not recognise then and do not recognise now any solution to the Donbass issue other than a military one. In this regard, I consider it necessary to take a long overdue decision and to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic. I would like to ask the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to support this decision and then ratify the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance with both republics. These two documents will be prepared and signed shortly. 54:52 President Putin: We want those who seized and continue to hold power in Kiev to immediately stop hostilities. Otherwise, the responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodshed will lie entirely on the conscience of Ukraine's ruling regime. Ukraine is 'longing for peace' says Zelensky at Munich Security Conference February 19, 2022 Transcript Overview: Western powers should drop their policy of "appeasement" toward Moscow, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky told a security forum Saturday, as fears mount of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Clips 13:37 Vladimir Zelensky: Ukraine has received security guarantees for abandoning the world's third nuclear capability. We don't have that weapon. We also have no security. 14:37 Vladimir Zelensky: Since 2014, Ukraine has tried three times to convene consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times without success. Today Ukraine will do it for the fourth time. I, as President, will do this for the first time. But both Ukraine and I are doing this for the last time. I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt. President Biden Remarks on Russia-Ukraine Situation February 18, 2022 YouTube Version Transcript Overview: Following talks with NATO allies, President Biden provided an update on Russia-Ukraine tensions and international efforts to resolve the crisis. Clips 3:04 President Biden: You know, look, we have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.War posturing - Biden US provided record security assistance to Ukraine 4:00 President Biden: This past year, the United States provided a record amount of security assistance to Ukraine to bolster its defensive — $650 million, from Javelin missiles to ammunition. And we also previously provided $500 million in Ukrai- — in humanitarian aid and economic support for Ukraine. And earlier this week, we also announced an additional sovereign loan guarantee of up to $1 billion to strengthen Ukraine's economic resilience. 7:24 President Biden: Well, I don't think he is remotely contemplating nuclear — using nuclear weapons. But I do think it's — I think he is focused on trying to convince the world that he has the ability to change the dynamics in Europe in a way that he cannot. President Biden Remarks on Russia and Ukraine February 15, 2022 YouTube Version Transcript Overview: President Biden gave an update on tensions between Russia and Ukraine, calling for diplomacy to resolve tensions. Clips 1:47 President Biden: The United States has put on the table concrete ideas to establish a security environment in Europe. We're proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures, new strategic stability measures. These measures would apply to all parties — NATO and Russia alike. 2:14 President Biden: We will not sacrifice basic principles, though. Nations have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. They have the freedom to set their own course and choose with whom they will associate. 3:17 President Biden: And the fact remains: Right now, Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine in Belarus and along Ukraine's border. An invasion remains distinctly possible. That's why I've asked several times that all Americans in Ukraine leave now before it's too late to leave safely. It is why we have temporarily relocated our embassy from Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine, approaching the Polish border. 4:12 President Biden: The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not threatening Russia. Neither the U.S. nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not — do not have plans to put them there as well. 4:26 President Biden: To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture. 5:52 President Biden: Today, our NATO Allies and the Alliance is as unified and determined as it has ever been. And the source of our unbreakable strength continues to be the power, resilience, and universal appeal of our shared democratic values. Because this is about more than just Russia and Ukraine. It's about standing for what we believe in, for the future we want for our world. 7:25 President Biden: And when it comes to Nord Stream 2, the pipeline that would bring natural gas from Russia to Germany, if Russia further invades Ukraine, it will not happen. 7:35 President Biden: While I will not send American servicemen to fight Russia in Ukraine, we have supplied the Ukrainian military with equipment to help them defend themselves. We have provided training and advice and intelligence for the same purpose. 7:50 President Biden: And make no mistake: The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power. An attack against one NATO country is an attack against all of us. And the United States commitment to Article 5 is sacrosanct. Already, in response to Russia's build-up of troops, I have sent additional U.S. forces to bolster NATO's eastern flank. Several of our Allies have also announced they'll add forces and capabilities to ensure deterrence and defense along NATO's eastern flank. We will also continue to conduct military exercises with our Allies and partners to enhance defensive readiness. And if Russia invades, we will take further steps to reinforce our presence in NATO, reassure our Allies, and deter further aggression. 9:12 President Biden: I will not pretend this will be painless. There could be impact on our energy prices, so we are taking active steps to alleviate the pressure on our own energy markets and offset rising prices. We're coordinating with major enersy [sic] — energy consumers and producers. We're prepared to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump. And I will work with Congress on additional measures to help protect consumers and address the impact of prices at the pump. Hearing on U.S. Policy Toward Russia Senate Committee on Foreign Relations December 7, 2021 Overview: Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy toward Russia. She addressed President Biden's earlier call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that Russia would suffer severe consequences if it attacked Ukraine. Other topics included the use of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, the cooperation of NATO and U.S. allies, Russia's use of energy during conflict, and the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Clips 10:42 Victoria Nuland: Since 2014 The United States has provided Ukraine with $2.4 billion in security assistance including $450 million this year alone. 30:55 Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly indicated that they seek to deny any potential path to NATO membership for Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Does the administration view this demand is a valid issue for negotiation? Victoria Nuland: No we do not and President Biden made that point crystal clear to President Putin today that the issue of who joins NATO is an issue for NATO to decide it's an issue for applicant countries to decide that no other outside power will or may have a veto or a vote in those decisions. Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden January 23, 2018 Clips 24:30 Former Vice President Biden: I'll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn't. So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I'm not going to—or, we're not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You're not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars. I said, you're not getting the billion. I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    god united states america american director time president china peace europe starting news state americans new york times war west germany russia joe biden office european international friendship russian german western ukraine congress north record republicans partnership britain enemy democrats hearing senate council vladimir putin emergency npr nations worse democratic minister radical poland alliance economic united nations judges republic constitution clinton cold war laughter bloomberg moscow corruption human rights nato excuse ukrainian presidents polish pentagon donations foreign administration bill clinton nancy pelosi romania soviet union soviet istanbul hungary allies responses joseph stalin eastern europe croatia kyiv clips belarus bulgaria czech republic ngos measures foreign policy reuters libya national guard estonia ussr treaty lithuania russia ukraine slovenia kremlin slovakia foreign affairs hung latvia armed forces excerpts albania montenegro lenin neanderthals world report central asia eastern europeans second wave crimea bbc news communist party volodymyr zelenskyy secretary general zelensky cis black sea nord stream nazism eurasia glance rada tomahawks senate democrats us embassy bolsheviks annual reports understandably key questions lviv donbas russian federation javelin donbass security council hwy donetsk mikhail gorbachev north macedonia clinton administration high commissioner vladimir lenin james baker luhansk arms control enlargement osce senate foreign relations committee peter baker maidan boris yeltsin russia sanctions ukrai baltic states military strategy congressional dish congressional research service music alley inf treaty european security soviet ukraine urals defense news russophobia poroshenko great patriotic war crestview putin russia north caucasus national security archive admit it house speaker nancy pelosi d ca kharkov andrew higgins arms control association nato allies euro atlantic cpsu un security council resolution independence square foreign minister lavrov house appropriations subcommittee congress house federal assembly cover art design david ippolito yatsenyuk rapid trident
    CD247: BIF: The Growth of US Railroads

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 13, 2022 105:50

    The infrastructure law provides the most significant investment in passenger rail in U.S. history, but substantial hurdles - including a powerful cartel - stand firmly in the way of a real national network. In this episode, learn the ways the infrastructure law paves the way for a better future for passenger rail along with the significant obstacles that it failed to address. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish YouTube Video What is the World Trade System? Contributors to Supply Chain Issues Matthew Jinoo Buck. February 4, 2022. “How America's Supply Chains Got Railroaded.” The American Prospect. “Cartel.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2022. “Energy Group Joins Shippers Alleging Price Fixing in Rail Transport.” January 6, 2020. The Houston Chronicle. Testimony of Dennis R. Pierce. Passenger and Freight Rail: The Current Status of the Rail Network and the Track Ahead. October 21, 2020. 116th Cong. U.S. Internal Revenue Service. December 31, 2019. “IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2020.” Dangers of Monster Trains and Rail Profiteering Aaron Gordon. Mar 22, 2021. “‘It's Going to End Up Like Boeing': How Freight Rail Is Courting Catastrophe.” Vice. U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Dec 29, 2020. “Accident Report: Collision of Union Pacific Railroad Train MGRCY04 with a Stationary Train, Granite Canyon, Wyoming, October 4, 2018” [NTSB/RAR-20/05 / PB2020-101016.] Marybeth Luczak. Nov 30, 2020. “Transport Canada Updates Rail Employee Fatigue Rules.” Railway Age. U.S. Government Accountability Office. May 30, 2019. “Rail Safety: Freight Trains Are Getting Longer, and Additional Information Is Needed to Assess Their Impact” [GAO-19-443.] Christina M. Rudin-Brown, Sarah Harris, and Ari Rosberg. May 2019. “How shift scheduling practices contribute to fatigue amongst freight rail operating employees: Findings from Canadian accident investigations.” Accident Analysis and Prevention. Jessica Murphy. Jan 19, 2018. “Lac-Megantic: The runaway train that destroyed a town.” BBC. Eric M. Johnson. Dec 6, 2017. “Growing length of U.S. freight trains in federal crosshairs after crashes: GAO.” Reuters. Cumberland Times-News. Aug 12, 2017. “Last of Hyndman's evacuated residents return home.” The Tribune Democrat. Jeffrey Alderton. Aug 5, 2017. “Propane fire out at Hyndman train crash site, residents await news of when they can return.” The Tribune Democrat. Jeffrey Alderton. Aug 3, 2017. “Train derailment destroys Bedford County home, forces evacuation.” The Tribune Democrat. New Jersey Department of Health. Revised June 2011. “Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: Sodium Chlorate.” Stephen Joiner. Feb 11, 2010 “Is Bigger Better? 'Monster' Trains vs Freight Trains.” Popular Mechanics. Lobbying and Corruption “CSX Corp: Recipients.” 2020. Open Secrets. CSX Corporation Lobbying Report. 2020. Senate.gov. “Union Pacific Corp: Summary.” 2020. Open Secrets. “Union Pacific Corp: Members Invested.” 2018. Open Secrets. Union Pacific Corporation Lobbying Report. 2020. Senate.gov. What you really pay for TV Gavin Bridge. Oct 27, 2020. “The True Cost to Consumers of Pay TV's Top Channels.” Variety. Laws H.R.3684 - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Sponsor: Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Status: Became Public Law No. 117-58 Law Outline DIVISION A: SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TITLE I - FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS Subtitle A - Authorizations and Programs Sec. 11101: Authorization of appropriations Authorizes appropriations for Federal-Aid for highways at between $52 billion and $56 billion per year through fiscal year 2026 (over $273 billion total). Authorizes $300 million for "charging and fueling infrastructure grants" for 2022, which increases by $100 million per year (maxing out at $700 million in 2026) Authorizes between $25 million and $30 million per year for "community resilience and evacuation route grants" on top of equal amounts for "at risk coastal infrastructure grants" Authorizes a total of $6.53 billion (from two funds) for the bridge investment program Sec. 11102: Obligation ceiling Caps the annual total funding from all laws (with many exceptions) that can be spent on Federal highway programs. Total through 2026: $300.3 billion Sec. 11109: Surface transportation block grant program: Allows money from the surface transportation block grant program to be used for "planning and construction" of projects that "facilitate intermodel connections between emerging transportation technologies", specifically naming the hyperloop Sec. 11508: Requirements for Transportation Projects Carried Out Through Public Private Partnerships For projects that cost $100 million or more, before entering into a contract with a private company, the government partner has to conduct a "value for money analysis" of the partnership. Three years after a project is opened to traffic, the government partner has to review the compliance of the private company and either certify their compliance or report to the Secretary of Transportation the details of the violation. The certifications or violation notifications must be publicly available "in a form that does not disclose any proprietary or confidential business information." DIVISION B - SURFACE TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT ACT OF 2021 TITLE I - MULTIMODAL AND FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION Subtitle A - Multimodal Freight Policy Sec. 21101: Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy Restructures/eliminates offices at the Department of Transportation to create an Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy The person in charge will be appointed by the President and has to be confirmed by the Senate Authorizes "such sums as are necessary" Subtitle B - Multimodal Investment Sec. 21201: National infrastructure project assistance Authorizes $2 billion per year until 2026 ($10 billion total) on projects that cost at least $100 million that include highways, bridges, freight rail, passenger rail, and public transportation projects. The Federal government will pay a maximum of 80% of the project costs. Sec. 21202: Local and regional project assistance Authorizes $1.5 billion per year until 2026 ($7.5 billion) (which will expire after 3 years) for grants for local transportation projects in amounts between $1 million and $25 million for projects that include highway, bridge, public transportation, passenger and freight rail, port infrastructure, surface transportation at airports, and more. Sec. 21203: National culvert removal, replacement, and restoration grant program Authorizes $800 million per year through 2026 ($4 billion) for grants for projects that replace, remove, or repair culverts (water channels) that improve or restore passages for fish. Subtitle C - Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Reforms TITLE II - RAIL Subtitle A - Authorization of Appropriations Sec. 22101: Grants to Amtrak Authorizes appropriations for Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor at between $1.1 billion and $1.57 billion per year through 2026 ($6.57 billion total). Authorizes appropriations for Amtrak in the National Network at between $2.2 billion and $3 billion per year through 2026 ($12.65 billion total). Sec. 22103: Consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvements grants Authorizes $1 billion per year through 2026 ($5 billion total) for rail infrastructure safety improvement grants Sec. 22104: Railroad crossing elimination program Authorizes $500 million per year through 2016 ($2.5 billion total) for the elimination of railroad crossings Sec. 22106: Federal-State partnership for intercity passenger rail grants Authorizes $1.5 billion per year through 2026 ($7.5 billion total) for grants to states to expand intercity passenger rail grants Subtitle B - Amtrak Reforms Sec. 22201: Amtrak findings, mission, and goals Changes the goal of cooperation between Amtrak, governments, & other rail carriers from "to achieve a performance level sufficient to justify expending public money" to "in order to meet the intercity passenger rail needs of the United States" and expands the service areas beyond "urban" locations. Changes the goals of Amtrak to include... "Improving its contracts with rail carriers over whose tracks Amtrak operates." "Offering competitive fares" "Increasing revenue from the transportation of mail and express" "Encourages" Amtrak to make agreement with private companies that will generate additional revenue Sec. 22203: Station agents Requires that at least one Amtrak ticket agent works at each station, unless there is a commuter rail agent who has the authority to sell Amtrak tickets Sec. 22208: Passenger Experience Enhancement Removes the requirement that Amtrak's food and beverage service financially break even in order to be offered on its trains Creates a working group to make recommendations about how to improve the onboard food and beverage service The report must be complete within one year of the working group's formation After the report is complete, Amtrak must create a plan to implementing the working group's recommendations and/or tell Congress in writing why they will not implement the recommendations The plan can not include Amtrak employee layoffs Sec . 22209: Amtrak smoking policy Requires Amtrak to prohibit smoking - including electronic cigarettes - on all Amtrak trains Sec. 22210: Protecting Amtrak routes through rural communities Prohibits Amtrak from cutting or reducing service to a rail route if they receive adequate Federal funding for that route Sec. 22213: Creating Quality Jobs Amtrak will not be allowed to privatize the jobs previously performed by laid off union workers. Sec. 22214: Amtrak Daily Long Distance Study Authorizes $15 million for an Amtrak study on bringing back long distance rail routes that were discontinued. Subtitle C - Intercity Passenger Rail Policy Sec. 22304: Restoration and Enhancement Grants Extends the amount of time the government will pay the operating costs of Amtrak or "any rail carrier" partnered with Amtrak or a government agency that provides passenger rail service from 3 years to 6 years, and pays higher percentages of the the costs. Sec. 22305: Railroad crossing elimination program Creates a program to eliminate highway-rail crossings where vehicles are frequently stopped by trains Authorizes the construction on tunnels and bridges Requires the government agency in charge of the project to "obtain the necessary approvals from any impacted rail carriers or real property owners before proceeding with the construction of a project" Each grant will be for at least $1 million each The Federal government will pay no more than 80% of the project's cost Sec. 22306: Interstate rail compacts Authorizes up to 10 grants per year valued at a maximum of $1 million each to plan and promote new Amtrak routes The grant recipient will have to match the grant by at least 50% of the eligible expenses Sec. 22308: Corridor identification and development program The Secretary of Transportation will create a program for public entities to plan for expanded intercity passenger rail corridors (which are routes that are less than 750 miles), operated by Amtrak or private companies. When developing plans for corridors, the Secretary has to "consult" with "host railroads for the proposed corridor" Subtitle D - Rail Safety Sec. 22404: Blocked Crossing Portal The Administration of the Federal Railroad Administration would establish a "3 year blocked crossing portal" which would collect information about blocked crossing by trains from the public and first responders and provide every person submitting the complaint the contact information of the "relevant railroad" and would "encourage" them to complain to them too. Information collected would NOT be allowed to be used for any regulatory or enforcement purposes Reports to Congress will be created using the information collected Sec. 22406: Emergency Lighting The Secretary of Transportation will have to issue a rule requiring that all carriers that transport human passengers have an emergency lighting system that turns on when there is a power failure. Sec. 22408: Completion of Hours of Service and Fatigue Studies Requires the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration to start pilot programs that were supposed to be conducted no later than 2010, which will test railroad employee scheduling rules designed to reduce employee fatigue. They will test... Assigning employees to shifts with 10 hours advance notice For employees subject to being on-call, having some shifts when those employees are not subject to being on-call. If the pilot programs have not begun by around March of 2023, a report will have to be submitted to Congress explaining the challenges, including "efforts to recruit participant railroads" Sec. 22409: Positive Train Control Study The Comptroller General will conduct a study to determine the annual operation and maintenance costs for positive train control. Sec. 22418: Civil Penalty Enforcement Authority Requires the Secretary of Transportation to provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing to "persons" who violate regulations requiring railroads to report information about railroad crossings. Eliminates the minimum $500 fine for violating the regulations Allows the Attorney General to take the railroad to court to collect the penalty but prohibits the amount of the civil penalty from being reviewed by the courts. Sec. 22423: High-Speed Train Noise Emissions Allows, but does not require, the Secretary of Transportation to create regulations governing the noise levels of trains that exceed 160 mph. Sec. 22425: Requirements for railroad freight cars placed into service in the United States Effective 3 years after the regulations are complete (maximum 5 years after this becomes law), freight cars will be prohibited from operating within the United States if it has sensitive technology originating from or if more than 15% of it is manufactured in... "A country of concern" (which is defined as a country identified by the Commerce Department "as a nonmarket economy country"). Countries on the nonmarket economy list include... Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus China Georgia Kyrgyz Republic Moldova Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan Vietnam A country identified by the United States Trade Representative on its priority watch list, which in 2020 included... China Indonesia India Algeria Saudi Arabia Russia Ukraine Argentina Chile Venezuela State owned enterprises The Secretary of Transportation can assess fines between $100,000 and $250,000 per freight car. A company that has been found in violation 3 times can be kicked out of the United States transportation system until they are in compliance and have paid all their fines in full. These rules will apply regardless of what was agreed to in the USMCA trade agreement. Sec. 22427: Controlled substances testing for mechanical employees 180 days after this becomes law, all railroad mechanics will be subject to drug testing, which can be conducted at random. Bills H.R.1748 - Safe Freight Act of 2019 Sponsor: Rep. Don Young (R-AK) Status: Referred to Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials 03/14/2019 Hearings Leveraging IIJA: Plans for Expanding Intercity Passenger Rail House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials December 9, 2021 During the hearing, witnesses discussed plans for expanding intercity passenger rail in their states, regions, and networks, and how the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was recently signed into law, will support these efforts. Witnesses: Stephen Gardner, President, Amtrak David Kim, Secretary, California State Transportation Agency Kevin Corbett, President and CEO of New Jersey Transit, Co-Chair, Northeast Corridor Commission, On behalf of Northeast Corridor Commission Julie White, Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Commission Chair, Southeast Corridor Commission, On behalf of the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Southeast Corridor Commission Ms. Donna DeMartino, Managing Director, Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency Knox Ross, Mississippi Commission and Chair of the Southern Rail Commission Clips 8:52 - 9:12 Rep. Rick Crawford: Finally, any potential expansion of the Amtrak system must include the full input of the freight railroads on capacity and track sharing issues. The ongoing supply chain crisis only further emphasizes the value of freight railroads and efficiently moving goods across the nation. The important work the freight railroads cannot be obstructed. 16:49 - 17:10 Rep. Peter DeFazio The law is pretty clear: preference over freight transportation except in an emergency. Intercity and commuter rail passenger transportation provided for Amtrak has preference over freight transportation and using a rail line junction crossing unless the board orders otherwise under this subsection. Well, obviously that has not been observed. 22:05 - 22:24 Stephen Gardner: With the $66 billion provided to the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak we and our partners can finally have the chance to renew, improve or replace antiquated assets like the century old bridges and tunnels in the Northeast, inaccessible stations around the nation, and our vintage trains. 23:44 - 24:11 Stephen Gardner: Additionally, we'll continue to work collaboratively with our partners where they see value in working with other parties to deliver parts of their service and with new railroad entities that aim to develop or deliver their own service. We simply ask that key railroad laws like the Railway Labor Act and railway retirement apply to new entrants, that the federal government gets equity and accountability for investments it makes in private systems, and that any new services create connections with Amtrak's national network 1:25:00 - 1:25:37 Stephen Gardner: We've been working very closely with a variety of host railroads on opportunities to expand, notably Burlington Northern Santa Fe and our work to expand the Heartland Flyer service between Texas and Oklahoma and potentially extend that North to Wichita, Newton, in Colorado along the front range also with BNSF, to look at opportunities there. With Canadian Pacific we've been having really good conversations about launching a new service between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago. Similarly, I think there's opportunities for that Baton Rouge to New Orleans service that Mr. Ross mentioned. 1:54:24 - 1:55:10 Rep. Chuy Garcia: You've each had different experiences with freight railroads as the host railroad for your respective services. What can Congress do to help you as you discuss expanding and improving passenger rail service with your freight railroad? You'll have about 15 seconds each. Knox Ross: Congressman, thank you. I think it's enforcing the will of Congress and the law that set up Amtrak in the beginning is, as the Chairman talked about, in the beginning, that people have a preference over freight. Now we understand that we all have to work together to do that. But we think there are many ways that Amtrak and other other hosts can work together with the fright to get this done, but the law has to be enforced. 1:55:14 - 1:55:30 Julie White: I would say that the money in the IIJA is going to be really important as we work, for example, on the S Line it is an FRA grant that enables us to acquire that line from CSX and enables us to grow freight rail on it at the same time as passenger. 1:58:05 - 1:58:23 Rep. Tim Burchett: Also understand that Amtrak is planning to either expand or build new rail corridors in 26 states across the country over the next 15 years and I was wondering: what makes you think Amtrak will turn a profit in any of those communities? 1:58:43 - 1:59:29 Stephen Gardner: But I would be clear here that our expectation is that these corridors do require support from states and the federal government, that they produce real value and support a lot of important transportation needs. But we measure those not necessarily by the profit of the farebox, so to speak, even though Amtrak has the highest farebox recovery of any system in the United States by far in terms of rail systems, we believe that Amtrak mission is to create mobility, mobility that creates value. We do that with as little public funding as we can, but the current services do require support investment and I think that's fair. All transportation modes require investment. 2:00:12 - 2:00:24 Rep. Tim Burchett: Since you mentioned that you needed more funding down the line, don't you think it'd be better to make your current service corridors more profit -- or just profitable before you build new ones in other parts of the country? When Unlimited Potential Meets Limited Resources: The Benefits and Challenges of High-Speed Rail and Emerging Rail Technologies House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials May 6, 2021 This hearing featured twelve witnesses from a range of perspectives, exploring the opportunities and limitations associated with high-speed rail and emerging technologies, including regulatory oversight, technology readiness, project costs, and available federal resources. Witnesses: John Porcari, Former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Transportation Rachel Smith, President and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Phillip Washington, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Danielle Eckert, International Representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Carbett "Trey" Duhon III, Judge in Waller County, TX Andy Kunz, President and CEO of the US High Speed Rail Association Carlos Aguilar, President and CEO of Texas Central High Speed Rail William Flynn, CEO of Amtrak Josh Giegel, CEO and Co-Founder of Virgin Hyperloop Andres de Leon, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Michal Reininger, CEO of Brightline Trains Wayne Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Northeast Maglev Clips 8:37 - 8:48 Rep. Rick Crawford: Rail is also considered one of the most fuel efficient ways to move freight. On average freight rail can move one ton of freight over 470 miles on one gallon of fuel. 18:05 - 18:46 Rep. Peter DeFazio: You know we have put aggregate with the essentially post World War Two, mostly the Eisenhower program, $2 trillion -- trillion -- into highways, invested by the federal government, a lot of money. But post World War Two $777 billion into aviation, airports, runways, air traffic control etc. And, and we have put about $90 billion total into rail. 22:45 - 23:25 John Porcari: As I evaluated ways to increase capacity in the Baltimore-New York City corridor, these were my choices: I could add air capacity between BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and New York with 90% federal funding for runway and taxiway improvements, I could add highway capacity on I-95 to New York with 80% federal funding, or add passenger rail capacity with zero federal funding for that 215 mile segment. A passenger rail trip makes far more sense than driving or flying, yet passenger rail capacity was the least likely alternative to be selected. So if you wonder why we have the unbalanced transportation system we have today, follow the money. 23:26 - 23:54 John Porcari: It's an extraordinary statement of state priorities that the California High Speed Rail Authority's 2020 Business Plan anticipates 85% of its funding from state sources and only 15% federal funding for this project of national and regional significance. This is a remarkable state financial commitment and a clear declaration of the state's project priorities. Yet there's no ongoing sustained federal financial partner for this multi year program of projects. 23:54 - 24:28 John Porcari: To match the people carrying capacity of phase one of the high speed rail system, California would need to invest $122 to $199 billion towards building almost 4200 highway lane miles, the equivalent of a new six lane highway and the construction of 91 new airport gates and two new runways. The San Francisco-Los Angeles air loop is already the ninth busiest in the world, and the busiest air route in America. Doesn't it make sense to prioritize this finite and expensive airport capacity for trans continental and international flights? 24:28 - 24:40 John Porcari: For California the 120 to 209 billion of required highway and airport capacity as an alternative to high speed rail is double the 69 to 99 billion cost estimate for phase one of the high speed rail system. 25:05 - 25:18 John Porcari: Providing real transportation choices at the local and state level requires the establishment of a Passenger Rail Trust Fund on par with our Highway Trust Fund and Airport and Airway Trust Fund. 48:00 - 48:23 Trey Duhon: Texas Central promised this project was privately financed, and everything they've done today, including the EIS was based on that. So we say let it live or die in the free market and invest our tax dollars in more equitable transportation solutions. We should not have to pay for another train to nowhere while having our communities destroyed by the very tax dollars that we work hard to contribute. 49:48 - 50:42 Andy Kunz: High Speed Rail can unlock numerous ridership opportunities. Essential workers like teachers, police and firemen in the high price Silicon Valley could find affordable housing options with a short train ride to Merced or Fresno in California's Central Valley. Residents of Eugene, Oregon could access jobs in Portland's tech sector or booming recreational industry with a 35 minute commute. A Houston salesperson could prepare for an important client meeting in Dallas with dedicated Wi Fi and ample workspace while gliding past the notorious congestion on I-45. A college student in Atlanta could make it home for Thanksgiving in Charlotte while picking up grandma along the way in Greenville, South Carolina. International tourists visiting Disney World in Orlando could extend their vacation with a day trip to the Gulf beaches of the Greater Tampa Bay area. 51:41 - 54:58 Andy Kunz: High Speed Rail has an unmatched track record of safety. Japan, with the world's first high speed rail network, has carried millions of people over 50 years without a single fatality, in comparison as many as 40,000 Americans are killed every year in auto accidents on our highways. 52:22 - 52:45 Andy Kunz: China has invested over a trillion dollars in high speed rail, allowing them to build a world class 22,000 mile network in 14 years. Not taking a pause, China plans to construct another 21,000 miles of track over the next nine years. Modern infrastructure like this fuels China's explosive economic growth, making it challenging for us to compete with them in the 21st century. 52:46 - 53:10 Andy Kunz: On the other side of the globe, the United Kingdom is currently doubling their rail network with $120 billion investment. France has invested over $160 billion in constructing their system. Spain's 2000 mile High Speed Rail Network is the largest in Europe, costing more than 175 billion. These are considerable investments by nations that are similar in size to Texas. 1:08:00 - 1:09:00 Rep. Peter DeFazio: Are you aware of any high speed rail project in the world that isn't government subsidized? I know, Virgin in, you know, in Great Britain says, well, we make money. Yeah, you make money. You don't have to maintain the rail, the government does that, all you do is put a train set on it and run it. John Porcari: Yeah, that's a really important point, Mr. Chairman, virtually every one that I'm aware of in the world has had a very big public investment in the infrastructure itself, the operation by a private operator can be very profitable. I would point out that that is no different, conceptually from our airways system, for example, where federal taxpayer investments make possible the operations of our airlines, which in turn are profitable and no different than our very profitable trucking industry in the US, which is enabled by the public infrastructure investment of the highway system itself. 1:09:46 - 1:10:37 Philip Washington: The potential is very, very good to make that connection with the private railroad. And actually that is the plan. And we are working with that, that private railroad right now to do that. And that connection with the help of some twin bore tunnel will allow train speeds to be at anywhere from 180 to 200 miles an hour, getting from that high desert corridor to Los Angeles. And so it's a it's a huge, huge effort. It links up with high speed rail from the north as well, with the link up coming into Union Station as well. So I think the potential to link up both of these are very, very great. And we're working with both entities. 1:11:31 - 1:12:13 Philip Washington: Well one of our ideas very quickly is right now we have as you know, Mr. Chairman, assembly plants, assembly plants all over the country what we are proposing is a soup to nuts, all included manufacturing outfit in this country that manufactures trains from the ground up, forging steel, all of those things. So we have proposed an industrial park with suppliers on site as well to actually build again from the ground up, rail car passenger rail car vehicles and locomotives. It is the return of manufacturing to this country as we see it. 1:21:16 - 1:21:50 John Porcari: We have 111 year old tunnel in New York, we have a B&P tunnel in Baltimore, that Civil War era. Those are not the biggest obstacles. It is more a question of will. What we want to do as a country in infrastructure, we do, and we've never made rail, really the priority that that I think it needs to be. And we've never provided meaningful choices for the states to select rail and build a multi year rail program because we don't have the funding part of it. 1:21:55 - 1:22:19 John Porcari: Our passenger rail system in the US is moving from a survival mode to a growth mode. And I think that's a very healthy thing for the country. Whether you're talking about our cross country service, one of the coastal corridors or the Midwest service, all of that is really important. In just the same way we built the interstates, city pairs aggregating into a national system, we can really do that with the passenger rail system if we have the will. 1:27:13 - 1:27:41 Rep. Michelle Steel: My constituents are already taxed enough, with California state and local taxes and skyrocketing gas prices making it unaffordable to live. I just came back from Texas, their gas price was $2 something and we are paying over $4 in California. We must preserve our local economy by lowering taxes not raising them. And we must not continue throwing tax dollars into a high speed money pit. 1:30:53 - 1:31:11 Trey Duhon: The folks in Waller county the folks that I know, a family of four is not going to pay $1,000 To ride a train between Houston and Dallas, when they can get there on a $50 tank of gas an hour and a half later. It's just not going to happen. So it's not a mass transit solution, at least not for this corridor. 1:48:56 - 1:49:25 Andy Kunz: The other big thing that hasn't been mentioned is the the cost of people's time and waste sitting stuck in traffic or stuck in airports. It's estimated to be several 100 billion dollars a year. And then as a business person, time is money. So if all your people are taking all day to get anywhere your entire company is less competitive, especially against nations that actually have these efficient systems, and then they can out compete us 2:03:52 - 2:04:13 Seth Moulton: And I would just add, you know, we build high speed rail, no one's gonna force you to take it. You have that freedom of choice that Americans don't have today and yet travelers all around the world have. I don't understand why travelers in China should have so much more freedom than we do today. In America, high speed railway would rapidly rectify that 3:01:09 - 3:01:27 Josh Giegel: In 2014 I co-founded this company in a garage when Hyperloop was just an idea on a whiteboard. By late 2016 We began construction of our first full system test set, dev loop, north of Las Vegas. To date we've completed over 500 tests of our system. 3:01:38 - 3:01:48 Josh Giegel: Today we have approximately 300 employees and are the leading Hyperloop company in the world and the only company, the only company to have had passengers travel safely in a Hyperloop. 3:01:48 - 3:02:33 Josh Giegel: Hyperloop is a high speed surface transportation system. Travel occurs within a low pressure enclosure equivalent to 200,000 feet above sea level, in a vehicle pressurized to normal atmospheric conditions, much like a commercial aircraft. This, along with our proprietary magnetic levitation engine, allows us to reach and maintain airline speeds with significantly less energy than other modes of transportation. Not only is Hyperloop fast, it's a high capacity mass transit system capable of comfortably moving people and goods at 670 miles per hour with 50,000 passengers per hour per direction, on demand and direct to your destination, meaning no stops along the way. 3:02:54 - 3:02:58 Josh Giegel: We achieve all this on a fully electric system with no direct emissions. 3:11:34 - 3:11:53 Mike Reininger: Since our 2018 launch in Florida, we operate the only private high speed system in the US, showcasing the potential of American high speed passenger rail. We carried more than a million passengers in our first full year and learned a lot that is worth sharing from the investment of over $4 billion over the last 10 years. 3:12:45 - 3:12:57 Mike Reininger: We use existing road alignments and infrastructure corridors to leverage previous investments, reduce environmental impacts, lower costs, and speed execution as a basis for profitability. 3:13:00 - 3:13:28 Mike Reininger: In 2022, we will complete the extension into the Orlando International Airport, making our total route 235 miles, linking four of the largest cities in America's third largest state. 400 million annual trips occur between these cities today, 95% of them by car. By upgrading a freight railway first built in the 1890s and building along an Express Highway, we leveraged 130 years of previous investment to support our 21st century service. 3:13:31 - 3:13:51 Mike Reininger: Brightline West will connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles, where today 50 million annual trips and over 100 daily flights occur. Traveling on trains capable of speeds of 200 miles an hour using the I-15 corridor, but cutting the drive time in half, Brightline West's better option expects to serve 11 million annual riders. 3:14:56 - 3:15:08 Mike Reininger: Consider allowing private entities to become eligible parties for FRA grant programs by partnering with currently eligible applicants as a simple way to stretch direct government investment. 3:29:39 - 3:29:54 Rep. Rick Crawford: Amtrak announced plans to expand its routes including to several small cities where there doesn't appear to be enough demand or population to warrant those new lines. Can you guarantee that those new routes will be self sustaining and turn a profit or will they lose money? 3:38:42 - 3:38:55 Bill Flynn: 125 miles an hour on existing track infrastructure is high speed. The newest Acelas we ordered will have a top speed of 186 miles an hour. 3:36:46 - 3:37:05 Rep. Seth Moulton: What is the top speed of the Acela service? Bill Flynn: The Acela service in the southern network, Washington to New York, top speeds 135 miles an hour, and then in New York to Boston top speed of 150 miles an hour across different segments of the track. 4:11:57 - 4:12:30 Bill Flynn: When we think about NEPA and the other permitting processes that take place, and then ultimately into construction, on many major projects, we're talking a decade or more. So without the visibility and predictability and the certainty of funding, these projects are all affected, they ultimately become more high cost, and they take longer than they should. So if I were to recommend one policy action, creating a trust fund, or trust fund like structure, for intercity passenger rail would be key. Full Steam Ahead for Rail: Why Rail is More Relevant Than Ever for Economic and Environmental Progress House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials March 10, 2021 The hearing explored the importance of rail to the U.S. economy and as a tool to mitigate climate change. Witnesses: Shannon Valentine, Secretary of Transportation, The Commonwealth of Virginia Caren Kraska, President/Chairman, Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO Tom Williams, Group Vice President for Consumer Products, BNSF Railway Clips 18:17 - 18:50 Shannon Valentine: One of the worst rail bottlenecks, mentioned by Chairman DeFazio, along the east coast is at the Potomac River between Virginia and DC and it's called the long bridge which is owned by CSX. The bridge carries on passenger, commuter, and freight rail, nearly 80 trains a day and is at 98% capacity during peak periods. Due to these constraints, Virginia has been unable to expand passenger rail service, even though demand prior to the pandemic was reaching record highs. 18:50 - 19:42 Shannon Valentine: Virginia has been engaged in corridor planning studies, one of which was the I-95 corridor, which as you all know, is heavily congested. Even today as we emerge from this pandemic, traffic has returned to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Through this study, we learned that adding just one lane in each direction for 50 miles would cost $12.5 billion. While the cost was staggering, the most sobering part of the analysis was that by the time that construction was complete, in 10 years, the corridor would be just as congested as it is today. That finding is what led Virginia to a mode that could provide the capacity at a third of the cost. 20:34 - 20:43 Shannon Valentine: According to APTA rail travel emits up to 83% fewer greenhouse gases than driving and up to 73% fewer than flying. 20:58 - 21:22 Shannon Valentine: Benefits can also be measured by increased access to jobs and improving the quality of life. The new service plan includes late night and weekend service because many essential jobs are not nine to five Monday through Friday. That is why we work to add trains leaving Washington in the late evening and on weekends, matching train schedules to the reality of our economy. 52:23 - 53:06* Rep. Peter DeFazio: I am concerned particularly when we have some railroads running trains as long as three miles. And they want to go to a single crew for a three mile long train. I asked the the former head of the FRA under Trump if the train broke down in Albany, Oregon and it's blocking every crossing through the city means no police, no fire, no ambulance, how long it's going to take the engineer to walk three miles from the front of the train to, say, the second car from the rear which is having a brake problem. And he said, Well, I don't know an hour. So you know there's some real concerns here that we have to pursue. 1:23:25 - 1:24:15 Shannon Valentine: When we first launched the intercity passenger rail, Virginia sponsored passenger rail, back in 2009, it really started with a pilot with $17 million for three years from Lynchburg, Virginia into DC into the new Northeast Corridor. And, and I had to make sure that we had 51,000 riders and we didn't know if we were going to be able to sustain it. And in that first year, we had 125,000 passengers. It always exceeded expectations for ridership and profitability. And today, that rail service which we now extend over to Roanoke, and we're working to get it to Blacksburg Christiansburg is really one of our most profitable rail services. In fact, probably in the country. It doesn't even need a subsidy because they're able to generate that kind of ridership. 2:10:21 - 2:12:11 Shannon Valentine: Our project, in my mind, is really the first step in creating a southeast high speed corridor, we have to build the bridge. In order to expand access, we need to be able to begin separating passenger and freight. And even before that is able to occur, building signings and creating the ability to move. We took a lot of lessons from a study called the DC to RDA again, it's the first part of that high speed southeast corridor. For us, it was recommended that we take an incremental approach rather than having a large 100 billion dollar project we're doing in increments. And so this is a $3.7 billion which is still going to help us over 10 years create hourly service between Richmond and DC. It was recommended that we use existing infrastructure and right of way so in our negotiations with CSX, we are acquiring 386 miles of right of way and 223 miles of track. We are also purchasing as part of this an S line. It's abandoned. It goes down into Ridgeway, North Carolina from Petersburg, Virginia, just south of Richmond. Because it's abandoned, we have a lot of opportunity for development for future phases or even higher speed rail. And we actually included part of Buckingham branch, it's an East West freight corridor that we would like to upgrade and protect for, for East West connection. All of these were incremental steps using existing right of way and tracks and achieving higher speeds where it was achievable. Examining the Surface Transportation Board's Role in Ensuring a Robust Passenger Rail System House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials November 18, 2020 Witnesses: Ann D. Begeman, Chairman, Surface Transportation Board Martin J. Oberman, Vice Chairman, Surface Transportation Board Romayne C. Brown, Chair of the Board of Directors, Metra Stephen Gardner, Senior Executive Vice President, Amtrak Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute Paul Skoutelas, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Public Transportation Association Clips 27:31 - 27:59 Daniel Lipinski: Unlike Amtrak, Metra and other commuter railroads do not have a statutory federal preference prioritizing commuter trains over freight trains. Additionally, commuter railroads generally do not have standing to bring cases before the STB. Therefore, commuter railroads have very limited leverage when it comes to trying to expand their service on freight rail lines and ensuring that freight railroads Do not delay commuter trains. 35:42 - 36:27 Rep. Peter DeFazio: In fact, Congress included provisions to fix Amtrak on time performance in 2008. That is when PRIA added a provisions directing the FRA and Amtrak to work to develop on time performance metric standards to be used as a basis for an STB investigation. Unfortunately, those benefits haven't been realized. It's been 12 years since PRIA was passed. If our eyes metric and standards for on time performance were published this last Monday 12 years later, for the second time, and after this long and unacceptable delay, I look forward to seeing an improvement on Amtrak's performance both in in my state and nationwide. 38:01 - 38:32 Rep. Peter DeFazio: Worldwide, I'm not aware of any railroads, passenger railroads, that make money, although Virgin claims they do in England because they don't have to maintain the tracks. Pretty easy to make money if all you have to do is put a train set on it, run it back and forth. That's not the major expense. So, you know, to say that we shouldn't be subsidizing commuter or we shouldn't be subsidizing Amtrak is, you know, is just saying you don't want to run trains. Because everywhere else in the world they're subsidized. 43:45 - 44:30 Ann Begeman: Most intercity passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak, which is statutorily excluded from many of the board's regulatory requirements applicable to freight carriers. However, with the enactment of the Passenger Rail Investment Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIA) which both Chairman Lipinski and Chairman De Fazio has have mentioned in their opening comments, as well as the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015. FAST Act, the board assumed additional Amtrak oversight responsibilities, including the authority to conduct investigations under certain circumstances, and when appropriate, to award relief and identify reasonable measures to improve performance on passenger rail routes. 1:02:24 - 1:03:07 Stephen Gardner: Congress created Amtrak in 1970 to take on a job that today's freight railroads no longer wanted. In exchange for contracts assumption of these private railroads common carrier obligation for passengers and the associated operating losses for passenger service, the freights agreed to allow Amtrak to operate wherever and whenever it wanted over their lines, to provide Amtrak trains with dispatching preference over freight, and to empower what is now the STB to ensure Amtrak's access to the rail network. It's been nearly 50 years since the freight railroads and agreed eagerly to this bargain. And yet today, many of our hosts railroads fall short and fulfilling some of these key obligations 1:03:28 - 1:04:38 Stephen Gardner: Since our founding, Congress has had to clarify and amend the law to try and ensure host compliance. For example, by 1973, the freights had begun delaying Amtrak train so severely that Congress enshrined this promise of Amtrak preference into federal law, and in 2008, delays had gotten so bad that Congress created a new process to set Amtrak on time performance and provided the STB with the authority to investigate poor OTP. But for several reasons, these efforts haven't remedied the problems. For Amtrak and your constituents that has meant millions of delayed passengers and years of impediment as we try to add trains or start new routes to keep up with changing markets and demand. As the AAR are made clear and its litigation opposing the PRIA metrics and standards rule, many hosts see supporting our operation not as their obligation to the public, but as competition for the use of their infrastructure. But Amtrak wasn't created to relieve host railroads of their requirements to support passenger trains. It was created to help them reduce financial losses and ensure that passenger trains could still serve the country 1:04:38 - 1:05:15 Stephen Gardner: We need this committee's help to restore your original deal with the freights. For example you can provide us as you have in the moving forward Act, a way to enforce our existing rights of preference. You can make real Amtrak statutory ability to start new routes and add additional trains without arbitrary barriers. You can create an office of passenger rail within the STB and require them to use their investigative powers to pursue significant instances of for OTP. You can require more efficient STB processes to grant Amtrak access to hosts and fairly set any compensation and capital investment requirements. 1:06:19 - 1:07:57 Stephen Gardner: A rarely heralded fact is that the U.S. has the largest rail network in the world. And yet we use so little of it for intercity passenger rail service. A fundamental reason for this is our inability to gain quick, reasonable access to the network and receive reliable service that we are owed under law. This has effectively blocked our growth and left much of our nation underserved. City pairs like Los Angeles and Phoenix, or Atlanta to Nashville could clearly benefit from Amtrak service. Existing rail lines already connect them. Shouldn't Amtrak be serving these and many other similar corridors nationwide? 1:12:34 - 1:12:57 Randall O'Toole: Last year, the average American traveled more than 15,000 miles by automobile, more than 2000 Miles, road several 100 miles on buses, walked more than 100 Miles, rode 100 miles by urban rail, transit and bicycled 26 miles. Meanwhile, Amtrak carried the average American just 19 Miles. 1:13:35 - 1:13:55 Randall O'Toole: In 1970, the railroads' main problem was not money losing passenger trains, but over regulation by the federal and state governments. Regulation or not, passenger trains are unable to compete against airlines and automobiles. A 1958 Interstate Commerce Commission report concluded that there was no way to make passenger trains profitable. 1:14:52 - 1:15:20 Randall O'Toole: The 1970 collapse of Penn Central shook the industry. Congress should have responded by eliminating the over regulation that was stifling the railroads. Instead, it created Amtrak with the expectation that it would be a for profit corporation and that taking passenger trains off the railroads hands would save them from bankruptcy 50 years and more than $50 billion in operating subsidies later, we know that Amtrak isn't and never will be profitable. 1:15:40 - 1:16:10 Randall O'Toole: When Amtrak was created, average rail fares per passenger mile were two thirds of average airfares. Thanks to airline deregulation since then, inflation adjusted air fares have fallen by 60%. Even as Amtrak fares per passenger mile have doubled. Average Amtrak fares exceeded airfares by 1990 despite huge operating subsidies, or perhaps as has well predicted, because those subsidies encouraged inefficiencies. 1:16:50 - 1:17:15 Randall O'Toole: Today thanks to more efficient operations, rail routes that once saw only a handful of trains per day support 60, 70 or 80 or more freight trains a day. This sometimes leaves little room for Amtrak. Displacing a money making freight train with a money losing passenger train is especially unfair considering that so few people use a passenger trains, while so many rely on freight. 1:17:15 - 1:17:25 Randall O'Toole: Passenger trains are pretty, but they're an obsolete form of transportation. Efforts to give passenger trains preference over freight we'll harm more people than it will help. 2:42:40 - 2:43:50 Stephen Gardner: We think that the poor on time performance that many of our routes have is a significant impediment to ridership and revenue growth. It's quite apparent, many of our passengers, particularly on our long distance network, that serves Dunsmuir, for instance, you know their routes frequently experience significant delays, the number one cause of those delays are freight train interference. This is delays encountered, that Amtrak encounters when freight trains are run in front of us or otherwise dispatching decisions are made that prioritize the freight trains in front of Amtrak. And the reduction in reliability is clearly a problem for passengers with many hour delays. Often our whole long distance network is operating at 50% or less on time performance if you look at over the many past years. Even right now, through this period of COVID, where freight traffic has been down and we're only at 60% over the last 12 months on time performance for the entire long distance network. 2:52:44 - 2:53:23 Stephen Gardner: The difference between the US system and most of the international examples is that the infrastructure is publicly owned, publicly owned and developed in all of these nations, the nations that Mr. O'Toole mentioned, there is a rail infrastructure entity and they're developing it for both passenger and freight in some of those locations are optimized for passenger service primarily, that's for sure the case. China is a great example of a nation that's investing for both as a massive freight system and an incredible amount of investment for passenger rail. And again, they see high speed as a means of dealing with their very significant population and efficient way. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    covid-19 united states america ceo american new york director california texas donald trump thanksgiving president health chicago china europe los angeles washington las vegas france england japan service growth americans canadian travel united kingdom office colorado co founders international challenges local board north carolina oregon national spain dc nashville congress portland north train modern new orleans bbc judge monster oklahoma silicon valley baltimore essential south carolina testimony managing directors traveling world war ii act senate civil war restoration improving midwest effort federal vice economic secretary prevention dangers milwaukee increasing wifi sec offering disney world richmond reports wyoming virgin airports creates irs transportation donations chief executive officer newton examining countries variety regulation northeast consumers great britain trains requirements surface requires gulf commonwealth residents senior fellow attorney generals eis obligations albany reuters caps bp passenger existing petersburg contributors administrators grants railroads business plan controlled baton rouge us department twin cities ensuring co chair greenville fresno fra dwight eisenhower cartel findings wichita completion interstate vice chairman roanoke waller amtrak lobbying hyperloop pria pipelines buckingham houston chronicle merriam webster jobs act east west corridor central valley true cost aar cong usmca deputy secretary gao lynchburg authorization rda merced union station consumer products hwy internal revenue service subcommittee assigning propane otp popular mechanics open secrets eliminates ridgeway national network commerce department nepa american prospect full steam ahead consolidated high speed rail international brotherhood apta government accountability office potomac river pay tv group vice president stb north carolina department metra intercity eric m csx authorizes federal aid congressional dish national transportation safety board bill flynn sarah harris orlando international airport music alley christina m federal state new jersey department senior executive vice president displacing acela fixing america oberman hazardous materials bnsf crestview dennis r united states trade representative jessica murphy bedford county new jersey transit federal railroad administration northeast corridor former deputy secretary fast act highway trust fund freight trains waller county surface transportation board seattle metropolitan chamber san francisco los angeles international representative cover art design david ippolito
    CD246: BIF: Appalachian Chemical Storage

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 30, 2022 74:33

    The Infrastructure Law that was signed in late 2021 funds the first phase of a huge infrastructure project called the Appalachian Storage Hub, which would consist of large gas processing plants, underground chemical storage facilities, and pipeline networks to connect them all together. In this episode, get the details - as many as are known - about the plans for this possible project. Is this a good idea for our country? Please Support Congressional Dish Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD240: BIF The Infrastructure BILL CD231: Lights Out: What Happened in Texas? CD134: The EpiPen Hearing Negative Impacts of Natural Gas Susan Phillips. Dec 27, 2021. “Mariner East pipeline is set to be completed in 2022, after years of environmental damage and delays.” WHYY. CBS Philly. Oct 5, 2021. “Attorney General Charges Pennsylvania Pipeline Developer In Mariner East 2 Pipeline Spill.” Forty-Fifth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. Oct 5, 2021. “Mariner East Presentment.” attorneygeneral.gov Gunnar W. Schade. Aug 3, 2020. “The Problem With Natural Gas Flaring.” Texas A&M Today. Emily Henderson. Jul 15 2020. “Exposure to flaring at oil and gas production sites linked to higher odds of preterm birth.” James Bruggers. Apr 21, 2020. “For the Ohio River Valley, an Ethane Storage Facility in Texas Is Either a Model or a Cautionary Tale.” Leo Weekly. Environmental Integrity Project. Jan 21, 2020. “Warnings for Appalachia in Texas Ethane Storage Hub.” Britain Eakin and David Lee. Oct 31, 2017. “Emissions Settlement to Cost ExxonMobil $300M in Plant Upgrades.” Courthouse News Service. Josh Fox. 2010. Gasland. “Trinity River among most polluted waters in Texas.” Jan 13, 2010. Dallas Morning News. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. “Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay: PCBs TMDL Assessment.” Lettice Stuart. July 15, 1990. “NATIONAL NOTEBOOK: Mont Belvieu, Tex.; A Gas Leak Prods Exodus.” The New York Times. Peter Applebome. Nov 28, 1988. “Chemicals in Salt Caverns Hold Pain for Texas Town.” The New York Times. Appalachian Hub Kathy Hipple and Anne Keller. November 2021. “Poor Economics for Virgin Plastics: Petrochemicals Will Not Provide Sustainable Business Opportunities in Appalachia.” Ohio River Valley Institute. Kathy Hipple and Anne Keller. November 2021. “Poor Economics for Virgin Plastics: Petrochemicals Will Not Provide Sustainable Business Opportunities.” Ohio River Valley Institute. Kentucky Beyond Fossil Fuels. Last updated August 2021. “Appalachian Storage Hub: Latest News.” Reuters Staff. Oct 9, 2020. “Shell says Pennsylvania ethane cracker about 70% complete.” Reuters. Keith Schneider. Jul 31, 2019. “West Virginia Bets Big on Plastics, and on Backing of Trump Administration.” ProPublica. U.S. Department of Energy. Dec 4, 2018. “Secretary Perry Announces Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Report.” U.S. Department of Energy. Nov 2018. “Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States: Report to Congress.” Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. “Who Really Stands to Profit from the Appalachian Storage Hub/Petrochemical Complex?” Steve Horn. Feb 6, 2018. “China Is Financing a Petrochemical Hub in Appalachia. Meet its Powerful Backers.” DeSmog. Open Secrets. “Clients Lobbying on S.1075: Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act.” Appalachian Regional Commission Baltimore Sun Editorial Board. Jan 07, 2019. “Larry Hogan, reluctant environmentalist.” Appalachian Regional Commission. “Federal Co-Chair Gayle Conelly Manchin.” The Manchins Alex Kotch. Jul 20, 2021. “The Democrat blocking progressive change is beholden to big oil. Surprised?” The Guardian. Liza Featherstone. 2021. “Meet Joe Manchin's Appalling Daughter.” Jacobin. Open Secrets. “Sen. Joe Manchin - West Virginia: Top Industries 2017-2022.” Images U.S. Department of Energy. “Figure 9. NGL Pipelines, Existing and Announced, in and around the Appalachian Basin.” Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States: Report to Congress. U.S. Department of Energy. “Table 3: Stages of Development of Market Hubs.” Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States: Report to Congress. U.S. Department of Energy. “Figure 28. Projected Total Capacity, Total Production, and Real Consumption in the U.S. for Ethylene Products.” Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States: Report to Congress. U.S. Department of Energy. “Figure 30. Historical and Projected Ethylene Production Capacity by Global Area.” Ethane Storage and Distribution Hub in the United States: Report to Congress. The Law H.R.3684 - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Sponsor: Rep. Peter DeFazio Bills H.R. 4152: Appalachian Regional Energy Hub Initiative Act S. 1064: Appalachian Energy for National Security Act S. 1340: Appalachian Energy and Manufacturing Infrastructure Revitalization Act H.R. 2568: Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act S. 1075: Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study Act S. 1337: Capitalizing on American Storage Potential Act. Hearings Field hearing to examine the economic importance of modern, reliable energy infrastructure to West Virginia and the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources August 29, 2016 Witnesses: Dr. Brian J. Anderson Director, West Virginia University Energy Institute Dr. John Deskins Director, Bureau for Business and Economic Research, West Virginia University Mr. Chad Earl Director of Marketing and Business Development, Orders Construction Company, Inc. Mr. Steven Hedrick President and Chief Executive Officer, Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center Mr. Jeffery Keffer President and Chief Executive Officer, Longview Power, LLC Mr. Dan Poling Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer, District Council 53, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Sound Clip Transcripts: 6:32 - 6:59 Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: So using ethane from Natural Gas as a feedstock means that chemical companies can choose to operate in West Virginia due to the enormous benefits of being right on top of the resource. That's why, again, I included language in the energy bill that will require the Department of Energy and Commerce to conduct a study to look at the feasibility of an ethane storage and distribution hub here in Appalachia, in West Virginia or in the region. 11:34 - 12:00 Sen. Joe Manchin: In 2016 Annual Energy Outlook, the EIA projected that even in a clean power plan scenario, coal and natural gas will make up approximately half of our electric generation mix in 2040. We talk about deniers you know, there's those who deny that there's climate change going on. And there's those who deny that we're going to be needing fossil for the next two, three or four decades. 12:50 - 13:33 Sen. Joe Manchin: Infrastructure, we must put the necessary infrastructure in place to take advantage of the robust opportunities that come from our abundant natural resources, while ensuring the reliability of our electric grid. And I will mention one thing. I've spoken to a lot of our state legislators. And I said, we've got to start thinking in terms of regional energy have Mid-Atlantic energy, regions such as the southwest, we should be looking at Pennsylvania and Ohio as part of this region, not the borders that separate us but basically the ability that we have to work together, build these pipelines that basically keep some of this product in this market area. To attract it, they say, build it and they will come. I truly believe if you have it, they will come but you have to have access to it. 18:42 - 19:00 Brian Anderson: Over the last 10 years production of ethane and propane at the Marcellus and Utica Shales have driven the cost of these very valuable raw materials to a price point well below global and national prices. Connecting this valuable resource to the national and global markets will take modern, robust infrastructure, the topic of this hearing. 19:01 - 19:13 Brian Anderson: I contend that the types of infrastructure necessary to benefit both the region and the nation is not only a reliable modern network of pipelines but also a robust regional system with natural gas liquid storage and distribution 20:12 - 20:28 Brian Anderson: With current production rates in the in the basin, around 500,000 barrels per day, the resource is certainly sufficient to support a renewed and robust chemical industry. That is, as long as there is modern and robust energy transportation infrastructure to support that. 21:42 - 22:32 Brian Anderson: The goal of this project is to provide essential data to support the development of the chemical manufacturing industry, promoting economic development. As evidenced by the industry's commitment to our project, developing storage and transportation infrastructure is a critical pathway to developing the industry in the region. Subsurface storage and distribution and a network of pipelines will benefit both the raw material producers -- the upstream oil and gas industry -- as well as the chemical industry by fostering a readily available and reliable network and research and source of natural gas liquids, developing a predictable price point of the commodity in the region. Currently, there is only one spot pricing for natural gas liquids in the United States and Gulf Coast. And thirdly, promoting regional investment in a more robust ecosystem for the industry. 38:55 - 39:50 Steven Hedrick: Rather than exporting additional ethane available via pipelines in the United States Gulf Coast to Europe, Asia or even Canada, it could be utilized here in the Appalachian Basin, here in America, to maximize the value potential of our raw materials. According to the publication the Natural Gas Intelligence, ethane accounts for more than 50% of the typical barrel in the Appalachian region, with exports now leading market spoke near Philadelphia. I think production has been increasing in the region. In fact, administering company MPLX's CEO Gary Heminger recently said with incremental ethane takeaway projects and the projected completion of a regional cracker facility, we anticipate reaching full utilization of our existing facilities. In other words, we need more infrastructure and companies like Shell need more elasticity in the supply chain in order to maximize the benefit of ethane. 39:48 - 40:41 Steven Hedrick: We would propose that the corridors naturally created by the Ohio and Kunal rivers be utilized as a platform for a substantial pipe system that will support the distribution of key raw material and intermediate constituents, including but not limited to, methane, ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, and chlorine all of which are significant building blocks to the petrochemical industry and hence our society. We therefore must add substantial underground storage to the highest value of broadly used raw materials, specifically ethane, ethylene and propane and butane if we're able to create a built for purpose Appalachian storage hub. This can be safely and efficiently done and naturally occurring underground caverns in depleted natural gas extraction points, or even in depleted salt domes. In fact, the brightest minds in geological formations are currently studying the best locations for the hub. 1:34:03 - 1:35:40 Sen Joe Manchin: So I've come to the conclusion of this, the only way that we're ever going to is follow the dollars, the tax credits, extenders. They've been pouring more and more tax credits and extenders into renewables. And the only thing I'm going to say if that's the policy direction, and we can't collectively stop some of this other thing, when you have an administration desire to do something as they've done, we could at least say this, it makes all the sense in the world, if you're going to use these tax extenders, they call them tax extenders, they're credits, they give them credits if they do certain things in certain fields. So for moving to solar, or hydro, or wind and all this, those credits should only be used in a germane energy, that's where the losses were. So if the losses came from areas such as West Virginia and such as southwest Virginia, and such as Kentucky, those credits have to be used there. It makes all the sense in the world. We're gonna do every -- I'm gonna do everything I can just to shut the system down the next time, because trust me, they love tax credits. The wind people ain't letting tax credits go, solar'snot letting tax credits go. So I'm saying how do you argue against at least using the credits if you're going to get them? We'll build the best windmills, Danny. Our guys can build windmills. We can build solar, we can build anything you want. Just give us a chance. And that's what I am most upset about is no plan. There was no plan for a major policy shift in energy. And that's what we've got to correct I think, as quickly as possible to give us all a chance to survive in this tough area. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    CD245: New Year, Same Congress

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2022 91:07

    Much media attention has been rightfully aimed at the recent failures of Congress, but there was, in fact, lawmaking happening at the end of 2021. In this episode, learn about some laws that didn't get much attention, including a law that solves a real problem and a few laws designed to economically punish China. We also take a look at what is happening in Congress as we start 2022 and look for opportunities for effective activism as we enter this Congressional election year. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: Donation@congressionaldish.com Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or Donation@congressionaldish.com Use your bank's online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Please take our show note survey! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot CD232: American Rescue Plan CD155: FirstNet Empowers AT&T CD096: Fast Tracking Fast Track (Trade Promotion Authority) NDAA 2022 Jamie Dupree. Dec 9, 2021. “Who says bipartisanship is dead? It isn't on defense.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Huawui Sanctions Alessandro Civati. Jan 10, 2022. “Huawei Risks - A Government Security Review.” LinkedIn. Craig S. Smith. Sept 29, 2021. “How the Huawei Fight Is Changing the Face of 5G.” IEEE Spectrum. Federal Communications Commission. Mar 12, 2021. “FCC List of Equipment and Services That Pose National Security Threat.” Hadlee Simons. Sept 15, 2020. “More Huawei sanctions go into effect from today. What does that mean?” Android Authority. Julian E. Barnes and Adam Satariano. Mar 17, 2019. “U.S. Campaign to Ban Huawei Overseas Stumbles as Allies Resist.” The New York Times. Build Back Better is Dead Joe Manchin. Dec 19, 2021. “Joe Manchin: 'I cannot vote' for Build Back Better amid 'real' inflation.” Fox News. Jamie Dupree. Dec 3, 2021. “No shutdown but little headway in Congress.” Regular Order. 2022 Spending Department of Homeland Security. “Operation Allies Welcome.” Paul Kane. Jan 12, 2022. “The E-word is poised for a Capitol Hill comeback.” The Washington Post. Voting Rights and Election Reform Cristina Marcos. “House passes voting rights package, setting up Senate filibuster showdown” Jan 13, 2022. The Hill. Zachary B. Wolf. May 19, 2021. “The 5 key elements of Trump's Big Lie and how it came to be.” CNN. The Filibuster Lindsay Wise. Jan 10, 2022. “McConnell Issues Threat to Democrats on Filibuster Changes.” The Wall Street Journal. Tim Lau. Apr 26, 2021. “The Filibuster, Explained.” Brennan Center for Justice. Sarah A. Binder. Apr 22, 2010. “The History of the Filibuster”. Brookings. The Electoral Count Act Miles Parks. Jan 8, 2022. “Congress may change this arcane law to avoid another Jan. 6.” NPR. Laws and Resolutions S.J.Res. 33: A joint resolution joint resolution relating to increasing the debt limit. Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 16, 2021 S. 610: Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 10, 2021 S. 1605: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 27, 2021 S. 3377: Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act of 2021 Sponsor: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 22, 2021 H.R. 6256: To ensure that goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China do not enter the United States market, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 23, 2021 H.R. 3919: Secure Equipment Act of 2021. Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) Status: Signed into law by the President on Nov 11, 2021 H.R. 6119: Further Extending Government Funding Act Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Status: Signed into law by the President on Dec 3, 2021 H.R. 1319: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Tax credits for COVID Sec. 4006: Funeral Assistance For the COVID emergency declared on March 13, 2020 “and for any subsequent major disaster declarations that supercedes such emergency declaration”, FEMA funds “shall” be paid for 100% of disaster-related funeral expenses. Sec. 9631: Refundability and Enhancement of Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit For 2021, eligible taxpayers can get up to 50% of up to $8,000 in childcare costs (capped at $16,000 for multiple children under the age of 12) reimbursed via a refundable tax credit. The credit phases out for families with income higher than $400,000 per year. Sec. 9642: Credit for Sick Leave For Certain Self-Employed Individuals Allows self employed individuals to receive a tax credit for sick day related to COVID-19 from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, including getting tested, quarantining, illness, and getting the vaccine. The number of days is capped at 10 and its capped at $200 per day. (=$2,000) Sec. 9643: Credit For Family Leave For Certain Self-Employed Individuals Allows self employed individuals to receive a refundable tax credit for family leave for COVID-19 testing, illness, or vaccines. It's capped at 60 days and $200 per day (=$12,000) Bills H.R.4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 Sponsor: Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) S.2747 - Freedom to Vote Act Sponsor: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) H.R.5746 - Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act Sponsor: Rep. Donald Beyer (D-VA) Audio sources Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Jan 13, 2022. “Senator Sinema Announces Opposition to Changing Filibuster Rules.” C-SPAN. Sen. Krysten Sinema: I rise at a challenging divisive time for our nation. For years, America's politics have spiraled steadily downward into increasingly bitter tribal partisanship and our democracy has been strained. While that may sound abstract, it is a problem that hurts Americans in real, tangible ways. These deepening divisions hurt our ability to work together to create new job opportunities, protect the health and safety of our communities and country and to ensure everyday families get ahead. Our country's divisions have now fueled efforts in several states that will make it more difficult for Americans to vote and undermine faith that all Americans should have in our elections in our democracy. These state laws have no place in a nation whose government is formed by free, fair and open elections. I share the concerns of civil rights advocates and others I've heard from in recent months about these state laws. I strongly support those efforts to contest these laws and court and to invest significant resources into these states to better organize and stop efforts to restrict access at the ballot box. And I strongly support and will continue to vote for legislative responses to address these state laws, including the freedom to vote Act, and the John Lewis voting rights Advancement Act that the Senate is currently considering. And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that were sent the underlying disease of division infecting our country. The debate over the Senate 60 vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges. There is no need for me to restate my long standing support for the 60 vote threshold to pass legislation. There's no need for me to restate its role protecting our country from wild reversals and federal policy. Eliminating the 60 vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come. Our mandate, it seems evident to me work together and get stuff done for America. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

    CD244: Keeping Ukraine

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 118:53