Former President Trump on Monday threw his weight behind a bipartisan railway safety package that aims to prevent similar disasters to the February train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The bill, spearheaded by Ohio Sens. JD Vance (R) and Sherrod Brown (D), would include new safety requirements for trains carrying hazardous material. The legislative push comes months after the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that was carrying toxic chemicals through the eastern Ohio town.
In a social media post, Trump criticized President Biden for not appearing in the area and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for his response to the derailment before offering his support for the bipartisan legislative effort.
“JD Vance has been working hard in the Senate to make sure nothing like this EVER happens again, and that’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass his Railway Safety Act. JD’s terrific bill has my Complete and Total Endorsement!!!” Trump wrote.
The Railway Safety Act is moving toward legislative action and will receive a markup by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have both thrown their backing behind the legislation.
Brown told The Hill last week he was confident the bill would win the support of enough Senate Republicans to get over the finish line in the upper chamber. However, he questioned whether it would win the needed backing among House Republicans.
Trump’s support for the proposal would likely help grease the skids for a number of House GOP members to do so themselves.
If the bill ultimately makes it to Biden’s desk, it is likely to become the first major piece of legislation to make it through the divided Congress and be signed into law.
Among other things, the bipartisan package also includes a number of items the rail industry has opposed consistently, including train size limits and beefed-up inspection requirements. The bill would also hike fines on railroads for safety violations. The rail lobby is also pushing for changes to the bill, including to remove a provision that mandates two-person crews, while rail labor groups say it already contains too many exemptions.