Sunday, December 05, 2004

Istook retaliates against Republican Amtrak Supporters:

Note: Representative Istook proposed elimination of Transportation Enhancements Funds in 2003 for the new transportation bill that was never passed. That bill will be rewritten in Early 2005 in the new congress.

From the "The Hill" as reported in the Greater Valley Forge TMA Newsletter
Deep in the transportation section of this year's omnibus spending bill, Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) dispensed a little appropriator's justice, punishing 21 Republicans who wrote him a letter in support of $1.8 billion for Amtrak. Istook, chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies, drastically reduced, or entirely excised, the transportation earmarks that those lawmakers were expecting to receive, making good on a little-noticed threat he issued in a letter last February. Istook's anti-Amtrak retribution hit several of the Republican majority's most vulnerable members, including Reps. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) and Jim Gerlach (R-Pa)..." ( ) [From a second article] "Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) sent a written apology this morning to GOP lawmakers whose transportation projects he stripped from the omnibus appropriations bill in retaliation for their endorsement of additional funding for Amtrak.

Istook, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, treasury and independent agencies, apologized for not communicating better with his colleagues and promised to rectify the situation. ... Simmons received Istook's letter, but apparently, Gerlach did not. 'As of 2:15 [Thursday], we havent received any letter,' said John Gentzel, spokesman for Gerlach. Gentzel added that his office had been in contact with leadership staff on the funding matter, but he was not certain if there had been any contact with Istooks office." ( )