POLITICS

Schumer Slams Boehner For Saying It's ‘Stupid' To Think Funding Cuts Caused Amtrak Crash

05/14/2015 06:26 pm ET | Updated May 14, 2015
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took time Thursday to directly attack House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for saying it’s “stupid” to think funding cuts contributed to an Amtrak crash earlier this week that killed eight people and injured more than 200.

Earlier on Thursday, Boehner had cut off a reporter asking for a response to Democrats’ criticisms about cuts to Amtrak funding, saying, “That’s a stupid question.”

“They started this yesterday: 'It’s all about funding, it’s all about funding.' Well, obviously it’s not about funding,” Boehner said. “The train was going twice the speed limit. Adequate funds were there, no money has been cut from rail safety and the House passed a bill earlier this spring to reauthorize Amtrak. It’s hard for me to imagine that people take the bait on some of the nonsense that gets spewed around here.”

Schumer took issue with that, issuing a statement Thursday afternoon that called Boehner’s comments “patently false.”

“Experts have made clear that positive train control [PTC] could have prevented the tragedy in Philadelphia,” Schumer said, referring to technology that could automatically slow down or stop a train to avoid accidents. “It is simply a fact that insufficient funding for Amtrak has delayed the installation of PTC, and to deny a connection between the accident and underfunding Amtrak is to deny reality.”

A House committee voted to cut funding for Amtrak on Wednesday, and voted down an amendment that would have offered $825 million for positive train control technology.

The Amtrak train, which derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, was traveling at roughly 106 miles per hour while taking a curve where the limit was 50 mph.

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    Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.
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    A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
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    Emergency personnel help a passenger at the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
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    Emergency personnel work the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Emergency personnel work the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
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    Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Emergency personnel work the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Rescue crews and investigators inspect the site of an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia on May 13, 2015. At least five people have been killed and about 50 others injured Tuesday night when a passenger train derailed in the U.S. city of Philadelphia. The train was heading from Washington to New York when it went off the track in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia.
  • Win McNamee via Getty Images
    Investigators and first responders work near the wreckage of an Amtrak passenger train carrying more than 200 passengers from Washington, DC to New York that derailed late last night May 13, 2015 in north Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At least five people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the crash.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Rescue crews and investigators inspect the site of an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia on May 13, 2015.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Rescue crews and investigators inspect the site of an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia on May 13, 2015.
  • JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images
    Rescuers work around derailed carriages of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2015.
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    Passengers injured in an Amtrak train derailment who were bused from to New York from Philadelphia, walk through Penn Station May 13, 2015 in New York.
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