Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Ruffing It While Riding the Rails

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers want Amtrak to drop — Drop it. … OK, now roll over. Good boy! — its restrictions against packing pets onto trains, calling on the commuter line to allow four-legged friends equal passage across America.

An aide to California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham said the pet-loving pol and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials came up with his Pets on Trains Act plan following months of conversations with Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, passenger advocates and members of the Humane Society of the United States.

“It was just sort of, at the end of the day, just common sense,” Denham spokeswoman Amanda Maddox said of the proposal.

(Courtesy Rep. Jeff Denham)

(Courtesy Rep. Jeff Denham)

The plan would allow Denham to include his precious Lily, an 18-month-old French bulldog he gifted to his wife, Sonia, a little more than a year ago, in future train trips.

An aide to bill co-sponsor Michael G. Grimm said the New York Republican rarely travels by train these days. Still, the opportunity to bring Sebastian, his prized Yorkshire terrier, anywhere would most likely be much appreciated.

“It would be nice to have the option,” the Grimm aide told HOH, adding, “He drives back and forth from Staten Island to D.C. and his puppy comes with him.”

An Amtrak spokeswoman said the transportation provider is reviewing the new bill, but stressed that the current no-pets policy “is consistent with federal law.”

We’d be willing to bet that if ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., were still around, this project would definitely have some bicameral bite to it, as he was wont to keep toy dogs Snuggles and Koda close.

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