Here we are to December (can you believe it?!) with no movement of the Senate Bill 1022 to permit the Delta Queen to return to cruising. Check in on it periodically at the Senate website here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s1022?utm_campaign=govtrack_feed&utm_source=govtrack/feed&utm_medium=rss

closedThe shutdown of the U.S. government since October 1 has impacted so many in devastating ways. Also caught in this needless madness is the now halted progress of legislation passed by the House on Sept 25 that could lead to the Delta Queen being permitted to return to cruising America’s rivers. The bill must also pass the Senate when our elected leaders decide to continue the work we the voters hired them to do.

In the meantime, the Delta Queen and its supporters count the days. But even when Congress returns, the backlog of work will be tremendous, the cleanup of this mess will be massive, and the delays to so many projects could be indefinite. Arrrrrgggghhhh!

Congressman Steve Chabot

Congressman Steve Chabot

In an effort led by Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot… (drum roll, please)… on Wednesday, Sep. 25, the U.S. House passed HR1961 which moves the Delta Queen one step closer to the possibility of returning to cruising America’s rivers!

Read the update from Congressman Chabot’s website here:
http://chabot.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=351162

Here’s an article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press with quotes from Delta Queen representative Cornell Martin:
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/sep/27/vote-good-news-for-delta-queen/

Stay tuned!

 

Here is the text of a letter sent by House Representative Steve Chabot which was read meeting gathering on Saturday:

September 20, 2013

To all those gathered,

First, let me apologize for not being present at today’s event. My work in Washington and in my district is keeping me away, but I applaud everyone gathered here for your commitment to this issue.

I would like to thank and recognize Randy and Leah Ann Ingram, Phillip Johnson, Cornel Martin, and each person that has worked so hard to get the Queen moving again!

The Delta Queen is vessel that will always have a special place in my heart.

For most of my life, she docked along the banks of theOhio River, where she picked up tourists and honeymooners eager to experience America’s rivers in a unique and historic fashion.

The Delta Queen is beloved not just by me, but by many – particularly my fellow Cincinnatians who spent years watching her glide into to our city to unload passengers at dawn. And then sail out with a new group of river farers at dusk.

It is very fitting that the “Queen City” would be home to the Delta Queen. And I hope she can return there once again.

This gathering has been a long time coming.

In 2007, I introduced a bill in the House to extend the Queen’s exemption. And in the Senate, this effort was cosponsored by two men who rarely see eye-to-eye: Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama. They don’t agree on much, but they agreed on this.

Unfortunately, discord and disagreement won the day, and the vessel lost its ability to operate.

But, that was then and this now. Today, we have a renewed and strengthened coalition of support.

When I reintroduced the Delta Queen bill this Congress, I did so with a bipartisan group of lawmakers who all sharethe vision of returning the vessel to full operation.

I owe thanks to every cosponsor of this bill, but I owe special thanks to Congressman Lacey Clay of St. Louis, Missouri and Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee who have been my partners in this fight from the very beginning.

Senators Brown & Portman of Ohio, and Senators Landrieu and Vitter of Louisiana also deserve our thanks for introducing the bill in the Senate.

In addition to lawmakers, we also have a robust group of outside groups that understand that this bill does two very important things:

1.

It helps preserve a piece of American history

2.

And it will create and support jobs

So, I owe special thanks to the Seafarers International Union, the American Maritime Officers, and the National Historic Trust for their partnerships.

Soon the fruits of our labor will come to bear, as I am proud to announce that the House of Representatives will be voting on the Delta Queen legislation this coming Wednesday.

I am relatively confident in our chance of success, but weshould take nothing for granted.

The bill enjoys the support of both the chairman and ranking member of the Transportation Committee, but westill need everyone within earshot to tell their friends and neighbors to contact their Member of Congress andencourage them to support this bipartisan bill (H.R. 1961).

Let me close, by reminding everyone of something I think is very important.

The Delta Queen does not belong moored to a dock.

She belongs on America’s riverways.

And with the passage of this bill, that’s where she will return.

Thank you all and God bless!

Sincerely,

Steve Chabot

Member of Congress

We attended a gathering aboard the Delta Queen which included an exciting update from Cornell Martin (former Delta Queen Steamboat Company executive working to return the boat to cruising): The Congressional bill that would help open the door to the Delta Queen possibly cruising again is scheduled to be voted on by the House on Wednesday!

This is, of course the first step of many, but it is a step long waited for since the Delta Queen moored in Chattanooga in February 2008 to serve as a dockside hotel.
Former Delta Queen Captains Mike Williams and Gabe Chengary were also in attendance and shared inspiring words and lovely memories. Leah Ann and Randy Ingram shared the excitement. They are the current operators of the Delta Queen Hotel and leaders of the effort to return the vessel to cruising.
Track the Billy’s progress online here:

Here’s a link to an article from The Natchez Democrat:

http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2013/07/27/legislators-working-to-get-steamboat-back-on-the-water/

 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has endorsed a bill which could allow the steamboat “Delta Queen” to return to cruising America’s rivers. This action moves the bill out of committee and to the House for a vote.

Read the full article here:

http://arkansasnews.com/sections/news/arkansas/delta-queen-gathers-steam-congress.html

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