Last night, an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia killing six people and injuring as many as 200 people, but Republicans in the House Appropriations panel plan to slash the Amtrak budget, reported The Independent.
Republicans control the House Appropriations Committee and have been targeting the Amtrak budget for some time. Democrats and other Amtrak supporters have been pleading with Republican to not cut the Amtrak budget. Republicans aim to slash $300 million from the Amtrak budget.
The White House sent the committee a letter requesting that they refrain from cutting the Amtrak funding, said White Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
“There is clearly more that can be done when we’re talking about a railway infrastructure that is decades-old,” said Earnest. “If there’s an opportunity for us to make further investments in our infrastructure that would better safeguard the traveling public, then those are investments we should make.”
There have been long-standing debates over how to fund Amtrak — and with how much — for years. Politico said that the crash may create more “urgency” during the budget markup discussions as well as reignite debates over proposed safety implementations regarding Amtrak trains.
Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (R-PA), of Bucks County, PA, was on the train during crash and recounted his experience.
“The next thing I know, the train just literally rocked – like it buckled, and it went to the left and then shifted violently to the right and just crashed to the side,” said Murphy. “I was in that left side of the train going northbound, and everyone on my side, including myself, just literally threw to the air and went to the other side. There was nothing you could do.”
We have a personal account of an awful tragedy from a former Congressman, a firsthand experience of why Republicans don’t need to aimlessly slash funding from vital government services. Because of Republican failure, the country’s infrastructure is deteriorating to deadly levels.