Buttigieg swipes at congressional inaction on rail safety bill as Biden heads to East Palestine

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg swiped at congressional inaction on a bipartisan rail safety bill Friday as President Biden is set to visit East Palestine, Ohio, to mark the anniversary of a 2023 rail disaster.

“It’s still waiting its turn in Congress,” Buttigieg said Friday at an event at the Meridian International Center in Washington, saying it was “frustrating” that the Railway Safety Act has yet to receive a vote. Buttigieg pointed to unnamed members of Congress who “had a lot to say in the immediate aftermath“ of the February 2023 derailment “but are nowhere to be found” on supporting the bill.

Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and JD Vance (R) co-sponsored the legislation in the weeks after the East Palestine crash, which spilled cars containing toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride. The bill would increase safeguards for trains carrying toxic materials and require two-person crews on cars. The senators have expressed confidence the bill would pass with a filibuster-proof majority if brought to the floor. Biden and former President Trump have called on Congress to pass it.

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