Biden urges Congress to intervene to prevent 'crippling' and 'devastating' rail strike

US President Joe Biden called on Congress to intervene and prevent a potential rail strike. The walkout could occur as early as Friday December 9 and would have a profound economic impact.

Mr Biden urged Congress to adopt the tentative deal between unions and railroads in September “without any modifications or delay – to avert a potentially crippling national rail shutdown”.

The former Vice President added that up to 765,000 Americans “could be put out of work in the first two weeks alone.”

House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi said that legislation would be developed this week to “to prevent a catastrophic nationwide rail strike, which would grind our economy to a halt.”

A rail strike could mean that up to 30 percent of US cargo shipments could be frozen by weight and stock inflation.

It could cost the US economy up to $2billion per day due to the transport chaos that would severely affect the energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors.

Mr Biden insisted that the strike would “devastate” the US economy.

He said: “A rail shutdown would devastate our economy.

“Without freight rail, many US industries would shut down… Communities could lose access to chemicals necessary to ensure clean drinking water.

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Republican Senator Roger Wicker also praised Mr Biden’s call for congress to act admitting that no side was fully happy “but the responsible thing to do is avoid the strike.”

The Association of American Railroads said that “congressional action to prevent a work stoppage in this manner is appropriate … No one benefits from a rail work stoppage – not our customers, not rail employees and not the American economy.”

In a letter on Monday, the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, American Petroleum Institute, National Restaurant Association, American Trucking Associations along with other groups warned that the impact of a potential strike could be felt as early as December 5.

They said: “The risks to our nation’s economy and communities simply make a national rail strike unacceptable.”

Mr Biden added that Congress “should set aside politics and partisan division and deliver for the American people.

“Congress should get this bill to my desk well in advance of December 9th so we can avoid disruption.”

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