Less than 24 hours after eight people died in a tragic Amtrak train derailment, the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee voted to cut rail subsidies by $252 million — a move that ignited a partisan war of words over what caused Tuesday’s fatal crash.
During a press conference with reporters, House Speaker John Boehner maintained that the tragedy had nothing to do with funding. “Well, obviously it is not about funding. The train was going twice the speed limit,” he fired off.
Across the political aisle, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut presented on Friday a four-point plan to improve rail safety, placing blame for the crash on the federal government’s lack of spending on infrastructure.
“The deadly Amtrak derailment, along with the dramatic uptick in rail deaths, have exposed that Congress must do more to improve rail safety across the board. For far too long, Amtrak has been tremendously undercapitalized to the point that they now have a $21 billion state of good repair backlog,” Schumer stated in a press release.
These questions will help shed light on the partisan debate over rail safety in America: