On May 10, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed the Railway Safety Act of 2023 (S. 576) out of committee on a largely party-line vote. Democrats were unanimously in favor, but two Republicans on the committee—the original bill sponsor, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO)—also voted aye. Former President Donald Trump also endorsed the bill.
The Railway Safety Act is ostensibly in response to a February freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, that has received significant public attention, in part, because the train was carrying hazardous materials that spilled and burned.