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Biden threatens to veto bill proposing 'draconian cuts' to Amtrak — company still slated to receive billions in grants
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Biden threatens to veto bill proposing 'draconian cuts' to Amtrak — company still slated to receive billions in grants

President Biden plans to veto a bill proposed by House Republicans that would impose "draconian cuts" to Amtrak's funding, according to a Monday statement from the White House's Office of Budget and Management.

The proposed legislation, H.R. 4820, is a transportation and housing appropriations bill that seeks to provide Amtrak with $867 million in grants for the 2024 fiscal year. The railroad company has received, on average, $2 billion in yearly federal subsidies. Last year, Amtrak received $2.4 billion.

Amtrak, a federally chartered company, has never turned a profit since its creation in 1971, relying instead on taxpayers to keep it operational, according to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"Without significant taxpayer support, Amtrak could not operate," the committee stated, noting that the company's losses are "largely covered by the taxpayers."

A statement from the OMB criticized the proposed bill, claiming that the funding cuts "would reduce or potentially eliminate certain Long Distance and State Supported services and risk operations and critical capital expenses on the Northeast Corridor." The cuts could also impact "important safety and infrastructure upgrades," the statement declared.

"If the President were presented with H.R. 4820, he would veto it," the OMB wrote.

The Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO issued a letter Tuesday stating the "entirety of rail labor stands in opposition to the proposed draconian funding cuts," claiming it is "legislation that would devastate U.S. passenger and freight rail networks and the dedicated rail workers that run them."

According to the TTD, the $1 billion in funding cuts would "jeopardize more than 10,000 jobs."

Reason reported that in the White House's warning about the funding cuts, there was no mention of the $4.4 billion in yearly grants Amtrak received from the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act, passed in 2021. With those grants considered, the railroad company received approximately $6.8 billion in subsidies last fiscal year.

A recent report from Open the Books revealed that Amtrak paid its 19,000 workers an average salary of $121,000 for fiscal year 2022. During that same period, the company's top executives earned between $504,000 and $780,000 yearly.

"Those 19,000 rank-and-file employees, they pulled cash compensation of $2.3 billion last year," Open the Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski told the Daily Caller News Foundation. "This morning, I did the math. The average employee is highly compensated at Amtrak. They make an average of $121,000 a year and that puts Amtrak at the top of the Top Paid list of federal agencies."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →