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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
The Songs Of The Flag Organization (Sotf)—A Resource For Burn Survivors March 4, 2015
Pete Sessions, R-TX
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of THE SONS OF THE FLAG organization, which was founded in Dallas, Texas by Ryan “Birdman” Parrot in 2012. Parrot, a Navy SEAL who served 8 years as a member of SEAL Team 7 completed 3 tours in Iraq before being assigned to advanced Training Command. While riding in a Humvee, he and his team were hit by an IED with most of his crew sustaining life threatening burn injuries. Upon retirement he moved to Dallas, Texas, and was inspired by Ret. Capt Sam Brown’s strength and courage despite all his debilitating scarring. Not happy with the advancements in treatment for burns compared to the advancement of prosthetics he founded this organization to help: military, first responders, and civilian burn survivors. SOTF is bringing together community leaders, renowned burn surgeons, experienced military, dedicated first responders, and purposeful citizens to complete our mission. We partnered with Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. I submit this poem penned in their honor by Albert Carey Caswell."
Why Puerto Rico Statehood Is In The U.S. National Interest March 4, 2015
Pedro Pierluisi, D-PR
"In 2012, my constituents held a free and fair vote in which they rejected territory status and expressed a preference for statehood. At a subsequent Senate committee hearing, then-chairman Ron Wyden said that the current relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico “undermines the United States’ moral standing in the world.” Senator Wyden posed this question:"
Statements On Introduced Bills And Joint Resolutions March 4, 2015
Benjamin Cardin, D-MD
"According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, law enforcement fatalities in the U.S. rose 24 percent in 2014, reversing what had been two years of dramatic declines in line of duty deaths. The report indicates that 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year, compared to 102 in 2013. Ambush-style attacks such as those that took the lives of officers Ramos and Liu were the number one cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth year in a row. Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, matching 2012 for the highest total since 1995."
Passenger Rail Reform And Investment Act Of 2015 March 4, 2015
Marcy Kaptur, D-OH
"Christine Smith boarded Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited in Chicago on Tuesday night to visit a friend in Toledo. The train left Chicago two hours late and made it only about 15 miles to Indiana’s northwest corner, where it sat for about three hours, Ms. Smith recalled. By the time it got to Toledo, it was six hours behind schedule. It was only the latest of a series of late Amtrak trains the Melbourne, Australia, resident said she had encountered since arriving in Los Angeles last month and riding from there to San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Spokane, and Chicago. Late trains are nothing new for Amtrak, particularly for the overnight, long-distance trains such as those that serve Toledo—the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited. Trains running more than three hours late have become the norm recently, and they have often lost that much or more just on the Chicago-Toledo portion of trips. The Capitol Limited was 12 hours behind schedule on Sunday. While there have been exceptions, by far the biggest obstacle to Amtrak’s time-keeping across northern Indiana and northern Ohio has been tracks blocked by freight trains belonging to Norfolk Southern, which owns and operates the line Amtrak uses between Chicago and Cleveland. “It’s absolutely unbelievable what they’re doing to the American people. It’s a fraud,” Ms. Smith said. “Every train I’ve been on has been late leaving and late arriving, and freight trains are given as the reason.” During the 12 months that ended in August, Capitol Limited trains arrived at their end stations in Chicago or Washington within 30 minutes of schedule only 22.5 percent of the time, while the Lake Shore reached Chicago or New York on time 30.8 percent of the time, according to Amtrak. But August itself was significantly worse, and September data, when available, is unlikely to show improvement. In August, the best performer was the eastbound Lake Shore, which reached New York within 30 minutes of schedule 6.5 percent of the time—two trips. The westbound was late into Chicago every day of the month, and the Capitol Limiteds arrived on time once in each direction. Late westbound arrivals in Chicago also translate to late eastbound departures, because Amtrak lacks spare equipment in Chicago to make up replacement trains when equipment arrives late, and it also does not have enough engineers and conductors to always have an extra train crew ready to replace one that has worked the maximum 12-hour shift set by federal regulation. Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman in Chicago, laid even the late departures from Chicago at Norfolk Southern’s feet. “If the train is late getting to Chicago, it’s most likely going to be late eastbound while we’re servicing equipment and getting proper rest for our crews,” Mr. Magliari said. “The result is to drive up our costs, dissatisfy our passengers, and create `never again’ riders.” While its ridership pales in comparison to major stations like New York and Chicago, Toledo historically has been Amtrak’s busiest Ohio stop, and its ridership has declined of late. After peaking at more than 90,000 riders in 2010 and 2011, Toledo’s Amtrak ridership dropped to 87,073 in 2012 and 86,252 last year, according to statistics provided to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which owns the Toledo station. During the first seven months of 2014, Amtrak’s Toledo ridership has fallen by another 7 percent, those statistics show. David Pidgeon, a Norfolk Southern spokesman, said the freight-train backlog is a product of “more trains and capacity challenges in the corridor between Chicago and Cleveland” because the freight traffic exceeds what the company handled before the 2008 recession. “We generally have a cooperative relationship with Amtrak because we are each other’s landlords,” Mr. Pidgeon said. “We run on their network and they run on ours, so there’s plenty of business and personal incentive to keep the cooperation going. “We want to keep freight and passenger trains moving, period.” One of the busiest pieces of railroad in the entire United States, Norfolk Southern’s double-track main has become, to varying degrees, an obstacle course of stopped and slow- moving freight trains. A particular growth area has been oil shipments from the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota to terminals on the East Coast, rail traffic that simply didn’t exist before 2009 but "
Providing For Congressional Disapproval Of A Rule Submitted By The National Labor Relations Board March 3, 2015
John Thune, R-SD
"ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber made it clear this was intended to give States an incentive to create their own exchanges. At an event in 2012, he told the audience:"

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