The East Palestine train derailment is still reverberating through Ohio.
Senator JD Vance co-sponsored a bill to improve rail safety.
A Democrat sponsored the legislation, but Vance pitched it to Republicans.
Conservative groups are now criticizing the legislation.
(NewsReady.com) – The 2022 US Senate Republican primary race for Ohio was a fight between the GOP establishment and former President Donald Trump’s influence on the party. Vance was so unpopular within the establishment that party leaders circulated a letter asking the 45th POTUS to reconsider endorsing the author. Ultimately, the venture capitalist won the nomination and went on to win in the general election, as well.
Now, Vance is allegedly facing pushback from the establishment again. This time, it’s over a proposed law to make the rail industry safer.
Rail Safety Bill
Vance pitched the Railway Safety Act of 2023 — sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) — to his fellow GOP lawmakers after the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. The accident that involved a train operated by Norfolk Southern forced people in the town to evacuate when officials had to do a controlled release of the toxic chemicals onboard, spewing them into the air and ground. Residents were eventually allowed to go back home, but many complained about respiratory issues, burning eyes, and skin rashes they say were caused by the chemicals.
Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and John Fetterman (D-PA) agreed to co-sponsor the bill. According to a press release from Sherrod’s office, legislation would enhance the safety procedures for all trains carrying hazardous materials and require two people to operate the locomotives. It also invests in safety improvements, supports communities impacted by these types of accidents, requires rail operators to pay for wrongdoing, and prevents wheel bearing failures.
The legislation has a great deal of support in the Senate but doesn’t have enough votes to push it over the finish line. So, Vance has been lobbying Republicans to get behind the safety legislation. Koch family-backed groups are reportedly lining up against it.
Opposition to Bill
According to reports, conservative groups are trying to sabotage Vance’s chances of getting the legislation through. The National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, the Institute for Regulatory Analysis and Engagement, the Rio Grande Foundation, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, and others are opposing the bill.
FreedomWorks is tied to billionaire Charles Koch and his family. The Republican has long supported GOP candidates and causes. He’s both a powerful ally and an enemy, depending on where someone falls. Unfortunately, Vance is currently on the wrong side of the dynamic.
Copyright 2023, NewsReady.com