Senate Approves Legislation to Avoid Rail Strike

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
December 1, 2022Politicsshare

The U.S. Senate on Dec. 1 approved legislation to avoid a rail strike.

President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill after it reaches his desk.

The legislation had at least 69 votes, with some still being cast. It received bipartisan support.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced both parties had decided to support the bill.

“I am glad that the two sides have come together so that we can avoid this shutdown, which would be extremely damaging to the country,” Schumer said on the Senate floor in Washington.

The Senate is split 50–50. To pass the filibuster, a measure needs at least 60 votes. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was among the Republicans pledging to vote against the bill, which would impose a tentative agreement on rail workers.

A dozen unions representing more than 100,000 workers hammered out the agreement in the fall, but four of the unions later voted against ratifying it.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the bill in a 290–137 bipartisan vote, and separately approved seven days of paid sick leave, which was not part of the original agreement.

The agreement includes a 24 percent pay hike over five years and five $1,000 payments.

Amendments

Before taking up the bill itself, the Senate was voting on amendments.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) offered an amendment that would have implemented a 60-day “cooling-off period” during which a strike couldn’t be launched.

“My amendment would certainly avoid a strike. We all agree on that. It will give negotiators more time to get to an agreement, and it will not make Congress the entity of last resort in these kinds of negotiations where the knowledge of the issues that are very complicated have not been thoroughly studied and have not received the due diligence that I believe every American, every union member wants us to have,” Sullivan said on the floor.

It was defeated 26–69.

Another amendment, offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was also rejected in a 52–43 vote—it needed 60 votes—despite support from some Republicans, including Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The amendment would have added seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement, as the House did.

“This is not a radical idea. It’s a very conservative idea. And it says if you work in the rail industry, you will get seven paid sick days,” Sanders said.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

From The Epoch Times

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