The SMART Transportation Division has been asking for help and advocacy from our members this week to reach out to Congress and let them know that it is not OK to gut the federal spending for Amtrak. Late Thursday, it appears that your voices have been heard loud and clear and have had an impact!
The House of Representatives prepared its budget bill for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), and it called for an apocalyptic cut to AMTRAK’s budget. The version of the budget that came out of committee and was slated for a floor vote Nov. 2 featured a 64% cut to Amtrak.
This proposed funding cut would have been devastating to thousands of SMART-TD members who work in passenger rail. Fallout from the job cuts that would inevitably come from this short-sighted effort to slash and burn Amtrak would have also impacted the solvency of the Railroad Retirement Board, which would be a significant problem for everyone in railroad industry on both the freight and passenger sides.
Through the hard work of rail labor and the advocacy of our members and passenger railroad advocates reaching out to their members of Congress, the vote on this budget bill has been halted this week. Several Republican reps have expressed that this “halting” of the vote is directly related to concerns raised about Amtrak cuts.
In short, YOUR VOICE IS BEING HEARD!
While this is very welcome news, the threat is not over. This THUD budget bill is scheduled to come back to the House floor next week. We need all our members to contact their congressional representatives and express in no uncertain terms that cuts to Amtrak funding and subsequently the Railroad Retirement Board is not a responsible way to patch the holes in this nation’s budget.
Please follow this link to SMART-TD’s Legislative Action Center to send a pre-written message today! Together we can protect our brothers and sisters and maintain the pension plan that we all worked for!
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