Update from Railroad Passengers Association (RPA)'s E-Newsletter
Internal divisions within the House Republican Caucus stymied progress on appropriations bills this week, as House leadership was forced to pull its Fiscal Year 2024 Defense bill due to lack of Republican support. The Senate, meanwhile, moved ahead with a three-bill funding package that includes the FY24 Transportation appropriations. That’s good news for passengers, the Senate has rejected the radical cuts to Amtrak and passenger rail seen in the House version of the bill.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters that he’s “frustrated with some people in the [Republican] conference,” saying some of his members are holding the Defense bill hostage over unrelated issues. “I couldn’t put it on the floor (even though) I don’t have one complaint by any member of what’s wrong with this bill.”
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), the Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, hosted an event on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to warn that the drastic cuts to transportation funding in the FY24 House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) would lead to “project delays, cost increases, and more bureaucracy.”
The fact that the Senate is having a much easier time in advancing its bipartisan T-HUD bill is a good sign for Amtrak and passenger rail programs, since it increases its negotiating leverage in any future reconciliation conference between the Senate and the House. That means avoiding drastic cuts to service and advancing work on corridor upgrades and new trainsets.
Please join our campaign to keep the Passenger Rail Revolution moving forward! Just use the Rail Passengers advocacy resource tool to contact your elected officials in Congress to let them know you support America’s rail network. With just a few minutes of your time, you can help to build a better rail network for the next generation of passengers!
The Senate is scheduled to consider amendments to the bill next week. Congress has until September 30th to pass all 12 funding bills to avoid a government shutdown.