(National Sentinel) Hold-up: Democrats in the Senate have been using the arcane confirmation process to hold up a number of President Donald J. Trump’s nominations for federal posts, including his pick to head up the Federal Railroad Administration, Ronald Batory.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is blocking Batory’s confirmation over his demand that Trump and Republicans agree to spend billions of federal dollars for a major tunnel project between New York and New Jersey.
Schumer’s action comes despite a major Amtrak derailment in Washington state earlier this month in which three people were killed.
In 2015, an Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia in 2015 killed seven and injured several hundred people.
Batory is an experienced and respected former railroad executive, having spent four decades in the industry.
He was unanimously approved by members of the Senate Commerce Committee in early August, however, Schumer has been blocking the process of bringing Batory to the full Senate for confirmation vote.
The latest action by Schumer came late Thursday afternoon, when he objected to a motion by Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) for unanimous consent to have a vote on Batory’s nomination, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
There was some speculation that Schumer would drop his objections following the derailment in Washington state, but the senior New York senator has continued his obstruction.
Thune told reporters he was s”deeply frustrated” that a “non-controversial, highly qualified nominee has been languishing in the Senate for over four months due to objections by a handful of Democrats over a parochial issue entirely unrelated to the qualifications.”
He also took to the floor of the Senate to denounce the New York Democrat.
“[Schumer] said that the Department of Transportation is not pushing federal PTC hard enough,” Thune said. “Well, if you truly believe that DOT needs to do more, why is he, along with a few of his colleagues, standing in the way of Mr. Batory’s nomination?”
“When finally confirmed [Batory] will play a significant role in successful Positive Train Control implementation,” he said.
“The time for playing political games with this agency should be over,” Thune said just before Schumer blocked the nomination.
“I’m beyond words to explain why we are objecting to someone who is unanimously approved out of the committee to run an incredibly important safety agency,” Thune said after the objection. “I hope this is the last time.”
The Trump administration was equally dismissive of Schumer.
“Sadly, just days after a deadly derailment Sen. Schumer has yet again chosen to prioritize politics over safety,” one unnamed staffer told the Free Beacon.
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