By Keith Laing - 07/13/11 05:50 PM EDT
The CRS previously ruled the proposal would violate the Appointments Clause of the constitution, which deals with presidential appointments to federal agencies. Amtrak is a government-owned corporation.
The Republican proposal to privatize rail service in the Northeast would remove Amtrak from control of the federally designated Northeast Rail Corridor and transfer it to the Department of Transportation. A newly created Northeast Corridor Executive Committee would oversee the bidding process for rail projects in the Northeast.
Republicans argue private companies would be able to offer high-speed rail faster than Amtrak's Acela service, though the agency counters that it has plans to increase the speed of the trains in the Northeast.
The ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), said the CRS reports show the GOP's rail plan is a bad idea.
“The ideals enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers have guided our Nation for centuries, and Republicans should not railroad these principles in their flawed rush to privatize Amtrak. This ideological assault on Amtrak is nothing more than a transcontinental tragedy that will result in a constitutional catastrophe.”
Recently, Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), who co-authored the Amtrak privatization plan, chided Democrats for their rhetoric about a separate surface transportation bill.
Mica has repeatedly referred to Amtrak as a a "Soviet-style" operation.
Amtrak and other train advocates are gearing up for Railroad Day on Capitol Hill Thursday.