Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) slammed House Republicans’ decision to cut funding for Amtrak only hours after a deadly crash killed seven people and injured hundreds.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Rendell said that a House Appropriations committee vote to slash $US252 million from Amtrak’s funding was insensitive to the victims.
“Normally, Chris, after a tragedy, a pipeline bursts, a bridge collapses, everyone for a few couple of weeks says ‘we’ve really got to do something,'” Rendell said. “Here, less than 12 hours after seven people died, these SOBs, and that’s all I can call them, these SOBs didn’t even have the decency to table the vote.”
“What are these guys smoking?” he asked.
The governor’s comments come after Republicans on the committee brushed off calls for increased spending on infrastructure in the wake of the crash. The committee rejected measures that would have funded projects like track speed control, which the National Transportation Safety Board said would have prevented the crash.
Democrats were quick to criticise the vote.
“While we don’t know the cause of this accident, we do know that starving rail of funding will not enable safer train travel,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York) said, according to Politico.
House Republicans maintain that their proposed cuts will not affect passenger safety, and that the passenger rail provider often spends its money wastefully. Some members lashed out at Democrats for attempting to politicize the tragedy.
“Don’t use this tragedy that way,” Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said. “It was beneath you.”
Watch the interview below, via MSNBC:
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