More on House Voting to Avert Rail Strike After Fight Over Paid Sick Leave

The House voted (290-137) on Wednesday to avert a national rail strike with devastating consequences for Ag and the rest of the economy, but added controversial paid sick leave benefits in a separate bill.

There was bipartisan support for the president’s request to impose a tentative September deal the White House brokered but was rejected by four of 12 rail unions. Speaker Nancy Pelosi; “Today, we are here to safeguard the financial security of America’s families, to protect (the) American economy, as it continues to recover, and avert a devastating nationwide rail shutdown.”

Missouri Republican Sam Graves warned without action, the railroads would sideline hazardous chemicals a week before the December 9 strike deadline. Graves; “Anhydrous ammonia’s one of those things, and if you live in a rural state or you live in a very agriculture-dependent district, right now is the time when anhydrous is being applied.”

But the debate grew testy after Speaker Pelosi added a second bill giving rail workers, seven paid sick leave days they couldn’t get at the bargaining table. Pelosi; “It is outrageous, that every developed country in the world has paid sick leave, except the United States of America. No one should be at risk of losing his or her job, by staying home when sick, needing to see a doctor, or getting life-saving surgery.”

But Republicans pounced, accusing Pelosi of last-minute pandering to the unions to win votes in her caucus. Graves; “This last-second, desperate move to add paid sick leave, it’s unprecedented Congressional intervention, and it goes far beyond what the freight railroads and the unions originally agreed to.”

Graves argued the freight rail workers already get 3 to 5-weeks of paid leave, while the tentative deal gives them a 24-percent pay raise plus insurance benefits. The paid leave bill passed 221-207 with all but 3 Republicans voting ‘no.’

The Senate plans to act quickly and could send the strike-averting bill to the president even if it doesn’t pass the extra days of paid sick leave.

Related articles

Foreign Farmland Ownership Becomes Military Security Issue

First, it was a competition issue, but recently, foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, especially by China, has become a U.S. national security issue. A Chinese spy balloon spotted over Montana, and now a U.S. Air...

Grassley, Fischer, Wyden, Tester Reintroduce Cattle Market Reform Bill 

Senator Chuck Grassley and a bipartisan group of Senators last week introduced the bipartisan Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2023. Joining Grassley was fellow Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska, and Democrats Ron...

FAO Food Price Index Continues to Decline

The February FAO Food Price Index averaged 131.2 points in January 2023, down 1.1 points, or 0.8 percent, from December, marking the 10th consecutive monthly decline. With this latest decline, the index has fallen...

Food Dollar’s Property Income Share Remained at Historic High in 2021

In 2021, the average dollar spent by U.S. consumers on domestically produced food returned 39.4 cents as property income. Property income is income received by owners of capital assets such as land, equipment, and...

USDA Announces Steps to Improve Child Health through Nutritious School Meals

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday announced major initiatives that support and enhance the health of America’s children through nutritious school meals. At the USDA Conversation on Healthy School Meals Roundtable, Vilsack says, “Our commitment...

Latest articles

%d bloggers like this: