House Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners

House Dems urge Trump to fully fund Amtrak partners

House Democrats on Thursday urged the Trump administration to provide Amtrak’s partners with full funding in next year’s budget, arguing railroads need to enact a key train safety feature.

Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Dems see midterm advantage in new ObamaCare fight Members of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Lawmakers ask for increase in suicide prevention funding MORE (D-N.Y.), the House Appropriations Committee ranking member, and several other Democrats in a letter to White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump to nominate budget official as next consumer bureau chief Trump close to nominating CFPB chief: report On The Money: Trump imposes B in tariffs on China | China blasts 'fickle' Trump, promises payback | Trump to name consumer bureau director next week MORE said they are “extremely concerned” about the two deadly Amtrak accidents that took place just days apart.

"As you work with President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-ethics chief calls on Trump to end 'monstrous' migrant policies Laura Bush blasts Trump migrant policy as 'cruel' and 'immoral' US denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria MORE to finalize the Administration's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request, we urge you to fully fund Amtrak's National Network request, including funds for infrastructure to facilitate host railroad Positive Train Control,” the House members wrote in the letter.

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“Without this funding, passengers and commerce traveling by rail will continue to be at risk.”

Reps. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyHouse committee approves spending bill that would boost IRS funding Overnight Energy: Two top Pruitt aides quit | Trump offers support for Pruitt | EPA spokesman calls reporter 'a piece of trash' | Pruitt praises Chick-Fil-A as 'franchise of faith' White House budget office to investigate Pruitt’s soundproof booth MORE (D-Ill.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceDNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers Safety advocates urge lawmakers to steer clear of larger trucks in appropriations bill Coast Guard won’t ban transgender members without direct policy barring them MORE (D-N.C.), Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkMembers of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Lawmakers congratulate Duckworth on birth of daughter DeVos battles lawmakers in contentious hearing MORE (D-Mass.) and Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarImmigration compromise underlines right’s clout Pelosi, Dems hammer GOP for ‘derailing’ DACA debate Hoyer warns GOP: Don’t dabble with DACA compromise bill MORE (D-Calif.) also signed the letter, which says the Amtrak National Network’s routes must implement Positive Train Control (PTC), which automatically decreases the speed of a train traveling over the limit.

Railroads have until at least Dec. 31, 2018, to enact the costly safety feature, which moved into the spotlight due to recent Amtrak accidents.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that PTC could have slowed down a speeding train that derailed in Washington state late last year, while the safety board’s chairman said the feature could have prevented a Sunday collision in South Carolina that left two Amtrak employees dead. The safety agency is also investigating another crash that occurred last week, in which an Amtrak train carrying GOP lawmakers to their annual retreat collided with a truck in Virginia, killing one of the vehicle's passengers.

The request comes as lawmakers prepare to vote on a two-year budget deal that includes $20 billion for “existing” infrastructure projects, on top of almost $90 billion in disaster relief for regions ravaged by last year’s hurricanes.

White House policy adviser D.J. Gribbin last month indicated the administration may “repurpose” funds from some transit programs like Amtrak to generate revenue for its infrastructure package, according to reports. But that option is bound to face an uphill battle in Congress.

After several delays, the Trump administration said it will unveil its long-awaited proposal to overhaul U.S. bridges, roads, airports and other public works on Monday, the same day the administration plans to release its spending blueprint for fiscal 2019.