What to Know in Washington: Biden, Congress to Force Rail Deal
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President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are moving to prevent a looming shutdown of the nation’s freight railroads with the House preparing to take up a bill this week to impose a settlement over the objections of some unions.
Biden said in a statement Monday that lawmakers should “immediately” codify the agreement he helped broker in September between unions and railroads “without any modifications or delay,” after some labor groups voted to reject it.
“We cannot let our strongly held conviction for better outcomes for workers deny workers the benefits of the bargain they reached, and hurl this nation into a devastating rail freight shutdown,” the president said.
Biden’s intervention underscores the administration’s growing concern about the possibility of a work stoppage on freight rail lines. A strike could wreak havoc on the US economy by crippling supply chains, disrupting passenger rail travel and preventing key materials from reaching water treatment plants.
Unions and railroads have until Dec. 9 to avoid a strike, and a negotiated agreement now appears unlikely.
Congress can intervene to stop a strike under federal law. Pelosi said the House would consider legislation this week to adopt the tentative September agreement.
“This week, the House will take up a bill adopting the tentative agreement — with no poison pills or changes to the negotiated terms – and send it to the Senate,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is my hope that this necessary, strike-averting legislation will earn a strongly bipartisan vote, giving America’s families confidence in our commitment to protecting their financial futures.” Read more.
Happening on the Hill
- The House meets at 2 p.m. and plans to weigh over a dozen suspension bills
- The Senate meets at 12 p.m. to finish work on same-sex marriage legislation
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Around the Administration
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- At 3:30 p.m., he is set to deliver remarks on his push for domestic manufacturing
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US, Mexico Make Progress in Corn Talks as AMLO, Vilsack Meet
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- Mexico’s plans to ban genetically modified corn have drawn backlash in the US, as the policy could cut the country’s American corn imports by over half. Republican Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both active on agriculture issues, this month called on the US Trade Representative to intervene on the proposed ban, Maeve Sheehey reports.
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With assistance from Maeve Sheehey
To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at email@example.com; Katrice Eborn at firstname.lastname@example.org
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