Top Senate Dem and Republican work together on railroad safety bill

 April 16, 2023

In today's toxic political environment, it's difficult to find bipartisan cooperation at the highest levels of government.

But according to The Hill, a rare instance of bipartisanship is unfolding in Ohio, as Sens. J.D. Vance (R) and Sherrod Brown (D) have come together in the wake of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine that quickly turned political.

The derailment, which "spilled several cars’ worth of hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, a cancer-causing substance used in the production of plastics," posed immediate safety concerns for local residents.

The two senators' ideas to help prevent such tragedies in the future are also meant to ensure that local residents aren't left behind.


Vance, to some degree, downplayed the idea that the situation could serve as a model for more bipartisan cooperation.

"I don’t necessarily think it’s a model for any particular issue, [but] I think that East Palestine was an issue I cared a lot about, an issue where there was some common ground with Senator Brown," Vance told The Hill.

He then left the door open, sort of, for future work across the aisle.

"I don’t know that it’s a model, [but] I certainly want to get more things done, so I hope so," Vance said.

Brown said, "I think that Vance and I have been to the same places and spoke to the same people who expressed the same concerns: that [Norfolk Southern] is a corporation that abused the public trust."

The Hill noted:

In an interview with The Hill, Brown noted that this is far from the first time he’s found common ground with a Republican colleague from Ohio. He said he’s been doing so since his election in 2006, first with former Sen. George Voinovich and then Vance’s predecessor, Sen. Rob Portman.

Support from the top

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said recently that he will take the proposed railway safety bill to the Senate floor.

A) Schumer says he will put bipartisan railway safety bill by OH Sens Brown/Vance on the flr after East Palestine: Using my power as majority leader, I determine what bills I put on the floor. As soon as this bill comes out of committee, I intend to put it on the floor," Chad Pergram tweeted.

Pergram added: "B) Schumer: I also just wrote the FRA and the National Transportation Safety Board urging them the FAA is the Federal Railroad Administration, urging them to audit all major freight railroads and their safety cultures or lack thereof."

Only time will tell if the bill makes it to the House and actually passes, as more regulations are typically frowned upon by Republicans.

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