WASHINGTON — The White House wants the deal to avoid a rail strike on the president’s desk by the weekend.
The Biden administration says that time is of the essence as we get closer to a deadline to get a deal enacted, otherwise thousands of rail workers intend to strike which would shut down the nation’s railroads and cripple the economy.
‘We’re at a point to where it is going to require an act of Congress to see that through and enact the deal,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “It really is the best way forward for us as a country, for our economy.”
The deal on the table in the U.S. Senate after being passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday would give rail union workers a 24 percent pay raise over five years, but several of the unions rejected that deal because it failed to provide enough paid sick leave.
Buttigieg, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said he hopes lawmakers from both sides see how paramount it is to enact the deal.
“Where I hope to see it going is bipartisan cooperation to move this quickly through Congress and get it to the president’s desk,” he said. “I don;t care what your politics are, America cannot have a rail shutdown. There is no substitute for a well-functioning rail system in this country.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden supports sick leave for workers but does not support any amendment that will delay getting the measure to his desk by this Saturday.
Both Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and minority leader Mitch McConnell had said they would work together to get the deal through the Senate, but there are some roadblocks expected from both Republicans and Democrats.
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