Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont could torpedo President Joe Biden’s efforts to halt a rail strike by stalling out the Senate’s vote to force unions to sign onto an administration-brokered deal between railroad companies and rail unions, Politico reported Tuesday.
Biden called on Congress Monday to use its authority under the Railway Labor Act to force unions to comply with the administration’s deal before a Dec. 9 strike deadline after four of the 12 major rail unions voted to reject the deal, primarily due to workers’ concerns over quality-of-life issues like paid sick leave. While a bill to force compliance is expected to have sufficient Republican support to pass the Senate, any senator could potentially drag out proceedings via objections, prompting D.C. insiders to watch for signs that Sanders — who has not publicly commented on his stance on the issue — might try to stall proceedings in a bid to secure greater sick leave benefits for workers, according to Politico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Monday statement that the House would consider a bill to implement the administration’s deal with no alterations. Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met together with Biden Tuesday afternoon, with Schumer telling reporters that all four of the congressional leaders were committed to “resolve this rail shutdown as quickly as possible.”