A majority of House Republicans voted for amendments on Thursday that would have stripped Amtrak of its federal subsidies in 2016, although dozens of other Republicans joined with Democrats to kill the language.
The House was considering the transportation spending and housing spending bill for fiscal year 2016, which includes $55.3 billion in funding overall, and $1.13 billion for Amtrak.
Even after an Amtrak train crashed outside Philadelphia last month, Republicans have been keen to end taxpayer funding for the nation's government-owned passenger rail service. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., proposed two amendments for doing so.
His first would have ended all operating grants for Amtrak in the coming year, which would have blocked $288.5 million.
"A business that relies on subsidies and tax dollars to cover losses has little incentive to operate efficiently or effectively or, for that matter, as safely as it should," he during Wednesday night debate.
"It is appalling that the federal government undermines and threatens the future of America's children and grandchildren in order to subsidize Amtrak passenger service that would be self-sufficient if Amtrak riders stopped mooching off of hard-working American taxpayers and, instead, simply paid for the actual cost of their rides," he added.
On Thursday, the House rejected Brooks' proposal in a 143-283 vote. But notably, Republicans favored the plan by an almost 3-2 margin, as GOP members split 142-99.
Only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, voted with Republicans.
Brooks then tried again, with language that would have cut $850 million in government capital and debt service grants to the railway. That proposal failed in a similar 139-286 vote.
The House did make two tweaks to Amtrak on Wednesday night related to safety. Members approved language allowing $9 million to be diverted to Amtrak for the installation on inward-facing cameras, to help monitor locomotive and engineer performance.
Additionally, another $500,000 was diverted to the inspector general that monitors Amtrak.
Members killed two other proposals to increase Amtrak funding by $290 million, money that would have come from the Federal Aviation Administration budget, and to boost Amtrak grants by $861.5 million.