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Boehner has had enough of the “Amtrak is underfunded” narrative

Boehner has had enough of the “Amtrak is underfunded” narrative

“Are you really going to ask such a stupid question?”

Democrats want you to know that they believe Republicans are responsible for the tragic train crash this past week that killed 8 and started a conversation about safety in Amtrak’s most heavily-traveled corridor.

During a recent press conference with House Speaker John Boehner, IBT’s senior political writer Ginger Gibson made the mistake of playing into that narrative—and got more than a little embarrassed.


From MRC TV:

“Are you really going to ask such a stupid question? Listen, you know they started this yesterday, ‘it’s all about funding, it’s all about funding.’ Well, obviously it’s not about funding. The train was going twice the speed limit. Adequate funds were there. No money’s been cut from rail safety, and the House passed a bill earlier this spring to reauthorize Amtrak and authorize a lot of these programs. And it’s hard for me to imagine that people take the bait on some of the nonsense that gets spewed around here.”

Boehner had good reason to lash out. Earlier in the week Democrats in Congress were making hay with the story, officially accusing Republicans of letting safety standards slide in favor of a more palatable bottom line:

On Wednesday during a House Appropriations Committee meeting, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) blamed GOP lawmakers for failing to make “safety a priority” and bringing up the Amtrak tragedy he said, “Last night we failed them. We failed to invest in their safety.”

Mike Simpson (R-ID) shot back, “You have no idea, no idea what caused the accident, and to use that as a means of supporting the last amendment… don’t use this tragedy in that way, it was beneath you.”

Reports in the NY Times and WSJ contend that funding was not an issue in the crash.

This is refreshing. Even as the press corps is hitting back at the White House, there’s still a measurable bias radiating out of the mainstream media—especially when it comes to juicy ledes like lethal safety failures. I wish Republicans in Congress would do this more often; the MSM has proven time and again that they’ll go as far as they can to back conservatives into a corner, and they deserve to be called out on it.

Bravo, Mr. Boehner. Now do it again!

The FBI is launching an investigation into evidence that a projectile hit the front of the train moments before it derailed near Philadelphia. Officials discovered damage to the lower left hand corner of the train’s windshield, prompting questions about what may have been the real cause of the train’s derailment.

We’ll keep you updated as the story progresses.


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So… a lack of funding caused the train to exceed 100 mph.

Stupid progressives.

Dear Mr. Speaker,

Time to follow up and sanction Democrat members who lie about the tragedy on the floor of the House. It is the only way they can be called to account.

Let them know – it stops now.

FrankNatoli | May 16, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Boehner has had enough of the Amtrak being underfunded narrative? Wow. I’ve had enough of Boehner, enough of the people of Boehner’s district who keep re-electing him, enough of the majority of Republicans in the House who keep electing him Speaker. Enough!

“How can you say Amtrak is underfunded? I gave Reid all the money he wanted ever since 2011.”

ReallyVeryObnoxious | May 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm

And what if budget did substantially contribute to a situation where a train was traveling over twice the speed limit?

In such a hypothetical, Amtrak would have been running unsafe trains. Their engineering and management would’ve been so corrupted by fraud that there was not a single whistleblower.

If your safety budget has to be cut 90%, and it has no more fat to cut, you can do a ninety percent job on everything, or do a full safety job on ninety percent, and take ten percent out of service.

In Amtrak’s situation, there is no legitimate reason to maintain service levels that would offset a substantial unnecessary risk to human life. Even if the law mandated a minimum service level, the agency should have first realized there was a problem, and then appealed to the legislature for relief.

If it was the budget, then Amtrak can not be trusted to run trains safely at any level of funding, and abolishment is the fastest and most certain remedy.

Which means that Boehner is actually defending the continued existence of the program. Everyone can fill in the usual jazz about Boehner thus being a squish, a RINO, and a traitor.

    My question is why with the high prices that they charge for fares and food, why in the hell should the taxpayer subsidize a railroad that only serves a small amount of customers? Seems to me that if they would lower prices, they would get more butts in the seats. Just like sports venues, when the people start leaving they raise the prices.

      sequester in reply to Stan25. | May 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Amtrak’s customers include the elites who travel frequently between New York City and Washington DC. Among those elites are members of the media. That’s why the crash is receiving so much media attention. It is very personal to the them.

        Milhouse in reply to sequester. | May 17, 2015 at 6:19 pm

        What you’re forgetting, though, is that that segment is not subsidized. It makes a profit, which helps subsidize the rest of the system. If Amtrak were privatized, the NE corridor could actually be sold, rather than given away, as the rest of the system will have to be.

    The allow me: Boehner is a squish, a RINO, and a traitor.

Was the driver’s negligence or hubris motivated by unequal pay? Integrity and responsibility have become unaffordable in the age of debt and abortion.

Read that, and follow the links.

It isn’t a question of ridership on the NE corridor. It IS a question of why the Federal government should be underwriting a fascist railway system.

Simpson was wrong. Absolutely nothing is beneath Steve Israel. He’s a little worm.

There seems to be another coverup by modern liberal-progressives as to the real cause of the Philly Amtrak crash. Obviously, there is no way any type of funding crisis can be deemed responsible for an engineer speeding into a curve at more than twice the speed limit. There is no way a projectile can hit the front of a locomotive and cause it to derail, let alone speed out of control. And it is not credible to me that an engineer who remembers his train being hit by a projectile (if it indeed was), recalls his heroic effort to apply the brakes, and had the presence of mind to pull out his cell phone and call 911 in the immediate aftermath cannot recall how he reached a triple-digit speed so soon after departing a station on a track he was familiar with. The progs are pumping a huge amount of smoke, so it stands to reason there is a major fire somewhere.

    And why not?

    Look at the loser we tolerate to be the top guy to respond to it.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Skookum. | May 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    There is no way a projectile can hit the front of a locomotive and cause it to derail, let alone speed out of control.

    Yes, it can, indirectly.

    In fact, there really is no other reasonable explanation for the crash.

    The train engineer sped up to get away from the rock throwing area. Just then, he got a call from another train saying rocks were being thrown at it, too. Engrossed in his call, like the engineer in Spain, who also was talking, he missed a signal, and forgot he was accelerating till it was too late.

    And it is not credible to me that an engineer who remembers his train being hit by a projectile (if it indeed was), recalls his heroic effort to apply the brakes, and had the presence of mind to pull out his cell phone and call 911 in the immediate aftermath cannot recall how he reached a triple-digit speed so soon after departing a station on a track he was familiar with.

    No, he doesn’t remember being hit by a projectile. He says he remembers nothing after getting out of the North Philadelphia station.

    Another railroad employee heard the conversation. That’s who remembers it. Rock throwing has been going on for along time there.

    He doesn’t recall his heroic effort to put on the brakes. The train’s black box showed that – also the acceleration that had just preceded it.

      Skookum in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Sorry. I’m not impressed by your defense of the engineer.

      If the windshield is built to withstand being hit at speed with a cinder block, the competent engineer would know that and realize no rock strike would jeopardize his train. Furthermore, increasing speed from, say, 50 mph to over 100 mph to get away from rock throwers makes little sense, as even 50 mph is far faster than a rock hurler can travel on foot.

      Last I heard the NTSB is reporting that the train entered the fatal corner while accelerating. Irresponsible train driving is the only conclusion that makes sense.

Sammy Finkelman | May 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

When they had an opportunity to install positive train control in that area they did it only on the southbound tracks, apparently reasoning that going northbound, the curve was too close to a station for any train to be going very fast in the first place.

Major fire, yes.

Somebody was ignoring the rock throwing.

Federal and railway officials say being struck by rocks, bricks and even bullets is a longstanding problem for trains in the country’s rail systems. While not speculating on the cause of Tuesday’s accident, a retired Amtrak engineer and a former transportation safety official with the federal government each said that a projectile striking a train would be a dangerous distraction for an engineer…..

….Getting “rocked,” as locomotive engineers call it, is so common on the Northeast Corridor that trains long had metal grills over their windshields to act as armor. These days, thick glass is specifically designed to withstand the impact of a cinder block. Amtrak officials say trains are pelted in the neighborhoods around the crash site monthly.

What they have on the other tracks is something a little less complicated than the new system.

Amtrak officials probably didn’t want to install a safety feature twice – first automatic train control, and then positive train control, so they did as little possible immediately, while they waited for the deluxe, super-sophisticated, hypertechnical system to be installed.

Waited years. And years.