Trains For America

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Sen. Tom Coburn singlehandedly blocking Amtrak legislation

We’ve been talking about HR 6003/S 294 for months now. The generous Amtrak reauthorization proposal is long overdue to have its House and Senate versions reconciled so a compromise bill can be placed on the president’s desk. In July we reported that House members of the conference committee were being appointed, but no news of the legislation has followed since then. Apparently, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has taken it upon himself to block the appointment of Senatorial negotiators. From Forbes.com:

Coburn spokesman Don Tatro says Coburn doesn’t believe taxpayers should subsidize what he regards as Amtrak’s inefficiency.

In response, legislators in favor of the bill held a news conference at Washington’s Union Station. They were joined by [mostly northeastern] business groups that emphasized the bill’s importance to the economy. Those at the event included Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Tom Carper, and Rep. Rob Andrews.

What’s frustrating is that this popular plan, which passed both houses of Congress with a supermajority, could be held up by one backwards senator. America needs this legislation, and it seems that we don’t even need an uncooperative president to see this bill de facto vetoed.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, , , ,

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