Congressional Democrats from up and down the West Coast are asking the House Appropriations Committee to allocate more money for a new earthquake early warning system.
The warning system uses sensors to detect the initial, less destructive waves of an earthquake.
So it doesn't give much advance notice. Somewhere between a few seconds and a minute.
But politicians argue that's enough for a doctor to stop a complicated surgery, a train driver to put on the brakes, or a family to move away from the windows.
Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici says the system is still being developed.
"This would allow this pilot project to be run by Oregon, California and Washington Universities and this could really make a difference between life and death for people," she said.
The U.S. Geological Survey needs about $16 million a year to build, operate and maintain the new system.
The president’s budget for next year only includes $5 million.