On Tuesday, Senate Democrats finally caved, and confirmed Trump’s appointee to the Railroad Administration, Ronald Batory. However, the partisan stalling didn’t come to an end until – in recent weeks – several deadly train crashes tore through America’s rail system.
Alongside batory, Adam Sullivan was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Governmental Affairs. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) Chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transport Committee stated, “Even as his confirmation languished, consensus that Ronald Batory was highly qualified to serve as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration never waned. His confirmation is a win for railroad safety and I expect him to have an impact.”
It is believed that the Senate Democrats stalled the confirmation and announcement of Batory’s nomination since August where Trump’s pick was finally approved by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell, and Trump’s Secretary of Transportation accused Senate Democrats directly of holding up Batory’s confirmation and putting American railways at risk.
Last summer, the Transportation Department also decided to not be included in this project’s board. In addition to this, the Federal Transit Administration denied the agreement’s presence in a letter that was posted in December. According to the letter, the Department of Transportation was ready to split costs of the project with New Jersey and New York.
Senate Democrats faced serious pressure from President Trump due to multiple deadly train crashes. This helped them force to carry on with Batory’s nomination.
Jeffrey Rosen who is Deputy Transportation Secretary wrote a letter to Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Minority Leader. The letter was sent out earlier this month which stressed on having a top official to investigate the train accident that happened in Virginia. The federal agency wanted to go forward with appointing Batory as the federal railroad administrator.
Rosen wrote, “While the circumstances of that crash are being received by the Federal Railroad Administration, it is clear that the agency needs to have its chief rail safety official in place.”
Apart from this, there was another deadly train crash in South Carolina that resulted in the death of two Amtrak employees. At this time, Raj Shah who is the White House deputy press secretary slammed Senate Minority leader over Batory’s nomination.
In a statement, Raj Shah told the reporters, “We call on Senate Democrats, from Senator Schumer to Senator Brown — whose state we’re visiting today — to tell their leadership that it’s well past time to stop putting politics before public safety, and to the bring the President’s eminently qualified nomination up for a vote.”