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Biden ‘Confident’ Rail Strike Will Be Avoided After Congressional Leaders Meeting

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President Joe Biden, center, meets with congressional leaders at the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 29.  (Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images, CNN)President Joe Biden, center, meets with congressional leaders at the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 29. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images, CNN)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was “confident” a train strike will be avoided during his meeting with the top four congressional leaders, adding that Congress “must act to prevent” a train strike.

“I’ve asked the four top congressional leaders to ask if they’d be willing to come in and talk about what we’re going to do between now and Christmas in terms of legislation and there’s a lot to do, including resolving the train strike,” Biden said during the meeting. meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to make it,” Biden said. “The economy is at risk.”

On Monday, Biden called on Congress to “immediately” pass legislation to avoid railroad closures by officially adopting a September interim deal approved by union and executive leaders. Grassroots members of four unions have rejected the deal and are set to go on a train strike on Dec. 9 without a new labor deal or congressional action.

Biden, a longtime union ally, along with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and other administration officials helped unions and management reach a tentative deal to avoid a freight rail strike in September.

A railroad strike could clog supply chains and lead to soaring prices of staples like petrol and food, dampening an economy that many fear is heading towards a recession. It could also cost the US economy $1 billion in the first week alone, according to an analysis by the Anderson Economic Group.

Michael Baldwin, president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, one of four unions whose members voted no to the deal, said Tuesday that Biden had let the union and its members down.

“We are trying to address an issue here of sickness. It’s very important,” Michael Baldwin, president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “Newsroom.” “This action prevents us from reaching the end of our process. force bargaining or force railroads into a situation to actually do the right thing.

Pelosi said on Tuesday that the House could vote as soon as Wednesday on legislation to adopt September’s interim deal and avert a possible train strike. Once approved, Senate action could happen within this week or next, several Senate sources told CNN. The Senate should have the votes to break a filibuster on the bill to avoid a potential train strike, the Senate sources also said. At least 10 Republicans are likely to vote with most Democrats in the Senate to cross the 60-vote threshold.

After the meeting, McConnell expressed willingness to support the legislation and told reporters “We’re going to have to pass a bill.”

But any senator can slow the process as agreements on timing to move legislation typically require the unanimous consent of all 100 members of the house. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, criticized the proposed deal to avoid a train strike Tuesday.

“There are workers all over the country working for the railways, people doing dangerous jobs in bad weather, they don’t have paid sick leave. This is outrageous,” Sanders told reporters. “I think it is up to Congress to do everything possible to protect these workers, to make sure that the railroads start treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Sanders would not commit to voting for or against the legislation and did not respond when asked if he would oppose moving the legislation through the Senate quickly. Any member can delay a snap vote and potentially put off final action until after the December 9 deadline to avoid a strike.

Some Republicans are still skeptical of Congressional intervention, arguing they would prefer to see the matter handled administratively.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a frequent swing voter, told CNN the measure “deserves careful consideration.”

“I will wait and listen to the debate over lunch today before coming to any kind of conclusion,” he said.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of the GOP leadership, also told CNN she was still evaluating the plan.

Note: This article will be updated with the video.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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