President Biden wants rail unions and freight railroads to resolve their long-running contract dispute themselves, without saying publicly if he’ll intervene or ask Congress to do so, barring an agreement.
Biden Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not say if Biden would step in or ask Congress to do so to stop a December walkout—only that Biden’s “directly involved” in talks.
“As the president has said from the beginning, a shutdown is unacceptable because of the harm it would inflict on jobs, families, farms, businesses, and communities, just across the country. (But) This is something that he believes that the parties should resolve themselves.”
But Jean-Pierre would not get ahead of the president or others involved after four rail unions rejected either a tentative September agreement or a recent White House proposal.
“And the best option is for the parties to resolve their differences themselves, and that’s what the president’s going to continue to call on.”
But if Biden has the power to prevent a strike that would halt shipments of grain, produce, meat, and biofuels, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley argues he should; “He should exercise that, because he can do it instantaneously, and Congress may have several days of debate before we would get a bill passed.”
Grassley’s cosponsoring a bill to head off a rail strike that the industry says would cost the U.S. economy 2 billion dollars a day.