On Monday, Joe Biden released a statement demanding that Congress take action to prevent a looming rail strike that threatens to derail the nation’s infrastructure ahead of Christmas.
As reported by Axios, Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would force the rail unions to accept the terms of a deal that the administration had recently negotiated, after multiple unions voted against doing so.
“As a proud pro-labor President, I am reluctant to override the ratification procedures and the views of those who voted against the agreement,” the statement read. “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.”
In response to Biden’s statement, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) confirmed that the House will soon take up a vote to pass such legislation. Pelosi’s statement mirrored Biden’s, saying that she is “reluctant to bypass the standard ratification process for the tentative agreement — but we must act to prevent a catastrophic nationwide rail strike, which would grind our economy to a halt.”
“Our entire nation would suffer: more than 750,000 workers, including many union members, would lose their jobs in just the first two weeks,” Pelosi continued. “Millions of families wouldn’t be able to get groceries, medications and other goods, and our economy would be paralyzed as it continues to recover.”
If a compromise is not confirmed by December 9th and rail workers begin going on strike, then the shutdown of rail traffic across the country could cost at least $2 billion per day. Such a strike would halt the transportation of goods such as food, and could lead to another shortage at grocery stores throughout the country, similar to the supply chain crises earlier this year.