After a String of Amtrak Crashes, Top Official Points Finger at Schumer


In keeping with the left’s “resist for the sake of resistance” movement against everything President Donald Trump does, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has blocked or delayed dozens of Trump’s top executive branch post nominees.

Now, at least one official has suggested this tactic could be placing lives in danger.

That official is Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeff Rosen, and according to The Daily Caller, he has taken exception to Schumer’s prolonged refusal to confirm the nomination of 40-year rail veteran Ronald Batory as the nation’s top railroad safety regulator and head of the Federal Railway Administration.

Rosen sent a letter to Schumer on Jan. 31 following the crash of an Amtrak train in Virginia that was carrying congressional Republicans to their annual retreat in West Virginia. The train had struck a garbage truck on the tracks, killing the driver and injuring some of the train passengers.

According to USA Today, that crash was but one of several high-profile Amtrak train crashes or derailments over the past few years, the most recent of which occurred Feb. 4 in South Carolina when an Amtrak train was accidentally shifted to a side rail and slammed into a parked CSX freight train, killing the conductor and engineer.

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Other prominent accidents included the Dec. 18, 2017 derailment in DuPont, Washington, which killed three and injured dozens more, as well as two separate incidents in Philadelphia in 2015 and 2016 that killed a total of 10 people and injured hundreds more.

Unfortunately, statistics show that the number of fatalities in train accidents are on the rise, as is the rate of accidents per million miles traveled, a trend Rosen suggested could be slowed if not reversed if Schumer were to withdraw his objection to the appointed new leader and allow him to be confirmed.

“At that time, (Republican South Dakota) Sen. (John) Thune, who chairs the Commerce committee, said months have gone by and now we’re dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy, it’s time to confirm Ron Batory, and he asked for unanimous consent,” recalled Rosen, in reference to remarks in the Senate following the Washington state derailment, according to The Daily Caller.

“Senator Schumer stood up and just said ‘I object’ and then he walked away and didn’t elaborate,” Rosen continued. “So he didn’t say when he objected what the grounds were. It’s inexplicable that after those months and after the tragedy he was unwilling to put safety first, but he didn’t give the rationale.”

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Rosen stated that Schumer has yet to respond to the letter he sent him, nor did Schumer respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller.

“My letter was to call attention to the situation that we are all in together,” Rosen explained. “It’s in our national interest, it’s in the interest of the people of New York as well as our national interest, to have the top rail safety official in place, so I was appealing to his concern for his constituents and the rest of the country.”

Though Schumer offered no rationale in December, he had previously noted that he was holding up Batory’s confirmation in order to obtain federal funding for a new rail tunnel project connecting New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River — a project for which $15 billion has been requested even as the transit program’s budget is only $2.2 billion. Rosen insisted that was unrelated and a local matter.

Rosen argued that the blockage of Batory’s confirmation was preventing an adequate appraisal of safety issues and the implementation of policies to address them, but according to NBC News, Democrats countered by stating that Batory was already serving at the agency in an advisory role so it was unfair to blame any incidents on his lack of confirmation.

“Than no one would ever need to be confirmed,” Rosen replied in response to that narrative. “He’s playing a different role as an advisor. He’s not able to make decisions, he’s not able to sign things, he’s not able to direct resources. He’s not able to fill that leadership role.”

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“That’s like saying there’s good senior staff to the senator and if we didn’t have a senator from New York it would be fine because there’s senior staff there,” he added.

“Mr Batory is one of 64 nominees who’s been filibustered by the Senate minority and that’s a new world record,” Rosen stated. “That’s never happened in any prior administration so that one might wonder, is it really about the transit funding but whatever it is its just wrong. It’s both inexplicable and irresponsible.”

The deputy secretary is absolutely right that the obstinate blockage or delayment of Trump’s nominees for a variety of positions over unrelated partisan issues is “irresponsible,” and hopefully his time-consuming resistance tactics will soon run their course so the appointed leadership can get down to business, as people’s lives could very well be at stake.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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