To avert a national rail shutdown, U.S. President Joe Biden sent a statement yesterday calling for Congress to pass legislation immediately to adopt the Tentative Agreement announced in September between railroad workers and operators. Biden asked that Congress act “without any modifications or delay.”
“As a proud pro-labor President, I am reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement,” Biden said in his statement. “But in this case — where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt millions of other working people and families — I believe Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.”
The Railway Labor Act, passed in 1926, allows Congress to force workers back to their stations with a congressional resolution. Biden said Congress “should set aside politics and partisan division and deliver for the American people. Congress should get this bill to my desk well in advance of December 9th so we can avoid disruption.”
On Monday, hundreds of groups urged U.S. lawmakers to intervene in the railroad labor standoff. A rail stoppage could cost the economy $2 billion daily, disrupt 7 million travelers a day, increase inflation, and devastate all U.S. industries, including energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Monday that the House will consider legislation this week on adopting the tentative agreement. Deringer will keep you updated as this situation develops.