From yesterday's Courant.
As Congress headed for a long pre-election recess last week, Republican leaders refused to add money for rail and transit protection to a major port security bill: It was just too important to be cluttered with extraneous amendments, they said.
So backers of the rail and transit money, including Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., were angry and upset when leaders decided it was OK to insert a limit on Internet gambling in the bill.
For months, Lieberman and other urban lawmakers had pushed hard to include $400 million for mass transit, notably buses, subways and commuter rail, and another $400 million for longer-distance passenger rail and freight, including Amtrak. Connecticut could have used the money to beef up security on commuter rail lines around the state.
But White House and congressional leaders were eager for a strong port security measure to pass before the Nov. 7 election - and including rail and transit would be a distraction and perhaps hurt the bill's chances.
Yet top GOP officials added the Internet gambling provision, largely at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., as well as Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who had been pushing the legislation for 11 years and this fall faces a tough re-election fight.
Senator Lieberman blamed the failure on partisianship (surprise!). You would think someone with such a good relationship with the current leadership could have made more headway.
Speaking of the leadership let me remind you that it's the first vote our elected officials in Congress will cast when the new Congress goes into session next year. The current leadership thinks Internet gambling should be given priority over transit security. Think about that when it's time to cast your own vote.
Lightman, David. "Transit Left Out Of Port Measure". 10/05/06