WASHINGTON — Republicans on a powerful House panel have blocked a bid by Democrats to boost Amtrak's budget by more than $1 billion. That included $556 million targeted for the railroad's Northeast corridor, where a fatal derailment occurred Tuesday night.
The move by Philadelphia Democrat Chaka Fattah failed on a party-line vote as the Appropriations Committee debated a $55 billion measure funding transportation and housing programs. The GOP measure would slash Amtrak's budget to $1.1 billion, an 18 percent cut that's likely to be reversed after negotiations later this year.
President Barack Obama, however, asked for almost $2.5 billion for Amtrak in his February budget, much more than he'd requested in previous years. But the White House didn't specifically protest the Amtrak cuts in a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday.