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DOT calls on Schumer to move forward with confirmation of railroad nominee citing GOP train crash

DOT calls on Schumer to move forward with confirmation of railroad nominee citing GOP train crash
© Greg Nash

The Department of Transportation is calling on Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.) to move forward in the confirmation process of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border MORE's nominee for Federal Railroad Administrator.

Citing the crash of a train carrying GOP lawmakers earlier this week, Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen wrote a letter calling on Schumer to remove his hold on Ronald Batory’s nomination. He argued that the federal agency must have its top official in place to investigate this week’s crash.

“While the circumstances of that crash are being received by the Federal Railroad Administration, it is clear that the agency needs to have its chief rail safety official in place,” the letter reads.

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The train, which was carrying GOP lawmakers en route to the annual Republican retreat, collided with a truck on Wednesday, killing one of the truck's passengers.

“In the interest of the public safety, I am asking that you set aside wholly unrelated issues and remove your hold on this nomination to become the Federal Railroad Administrator.”

While the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved Batory last year, his nomination has since been held up in the upper chamber.

Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoHillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence Trump administration moves ahead with plans to rewrite self-driving cars rules Transportation Department will 'no longer assume' commercial drivers are human MORE has previously accused New York and New Jersey Democrats of holding Batory’s nomination over the administration’s stance on a multibillion dollar rail project known as the Gateway Program.

That program is aimed at rebuilding passenger rail connection under the Hudson River between New York City and Newark, N.J. But the Trump administration has backed away from the federal government’s involvement in the project, withdrawing from the program’s board last summer. 

The Federal Transit Administration in a December letter denied the presence of an agreement that says the federal government would split the cost of the project with New York and New Jersey.