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Transportation Safety Bill Blocked In Senate

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By David Schultz

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on Congress to pass a new transit safety bill to prevent accidents like last year's deadly Metro crash. The bill would give the federal government power to regulate transit agencies like Metro.

It passed unanimously through a Senate committee last month, but Democratic Senate staffers say it hasn't gone to the floor because Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)is threatening a filibuster. Coburn's office did not answer requests for comment today.

"Well, that's disappointing," says Jim Berard, a House Democratic staffer for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "But that's not unusual in the political climate that we operate in."

Berard is working on a similar bill, but he says the House won't even look at it until it passes the Senate.

"It really wouldn't do any good for us in the House to take action on the bill if it's just going die in the Senate again," he says.

Majority Leader Harry Reid's office says, with Coburn's threats of filibuster, there's no way the bill will get to the Senate floor before the August recess.

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