Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) is set to introduce bipartisan legislation Wednesday tightening safety standards for imported compressed gas cylinders to align with domestic standards, according to a summary first shared with The Hill.
Vance’s office said the bill will require foreign cylinder manufacturers to take several steps to ensure they are in compliance with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This includes steps like certifying no child labor was involved in the production of the cylinders. It would also allow the secretary of transportation to suspend or withdraw approvals of foreign-made cylinders that are determined to have obstructed federal inspections.
“This legislation offers a bipartisan, commonsense solution to protect American citizens and level the playing field for domestic manufacturers,” Vance said in a statement to The Hill. “Congress shouldn’t stand idly by as foreign cylinder manufacturers take advantage of loopholes to undermine our supply chains and public safety — it’s time for us to take action.”
A Vance spokesperson told The Hill the bill’s provisions would better level the playing field between foreign and domestic manufacturers and significantly reduce the risk to American manufacturers from unsafe foreign-produced cylinders.
The measure is co-sponsored by Sens. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
“We can’t allow Ohioans’ safety to be put at risk by faulty foreign products. This bipartisan plan will ensure a level playing field for Ohio manufacturers like Worthington, and ensure that foreign producers can’t undercut American businesses by cutting corners on safety,” Brown said in a statement.
Vance’s predecessor, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), sponsored a similar bill in 2022 during the 117th Congress. The measure did not advance beyond the Senate Commerce Committee. Vance’s office noted that the 2023 version of the bill has added both Brown and Budd, who took office in January, as sponsors, suggesting momentum is growing for increased regulation of foreign-manufactured cylinders.
Since Vance took office in 2023, he has repeatedly collaborated on legislation with a protectionist and safety-standards aspect with Brown. The two previously co-sponsored the Railway Safety Act of 2023, which would strengthen rail regulations in the wake of the February derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which spilled several cars of hazardous chemicals in the Ohio town. The bill has drawn the endorsements of both President Biden and former President Trump and passed the Senate Commerce Committee in a bipartisan vote last week.
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