On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Jose Diaz-Balart Reports,” Biden Senior Adviser Gene Sperling answered a question on how we reached the current point where Congress has to intervene to prevent a rail strike by saying that “the President bears ultimate responsibility and Congress bears ultimate responsibility in this case.” And Biden “believes in paid leave for everyone and would love to work with Republicans to get a bipartisan deal” but we’re at a point where we have to avert a strike. Host Jose Diaz-Balart asked, “Speaking of workers, Gene, your boss, President Biden, has asked Congress to pass a bill that would impose the September agreement between rail operators and rail union workers in order to avoid a rail strike at end of next week. How did we get to this point?” Sperling responded, “Well, you’re right, the President bears ultimate responsibility and Congress bears ultimate responsibility in this case. And I think everyone agrees that to allow a rail strike right now, maybe the word catastrophe is too strong, but it would be dramatic. You’d see 800,000 people lose their jobs. You’d see dangers in clean water, potential food shortages. You talk about spike increases. So, this is just the type of economic hardship, emergency that we have to act. And we did — there was a tentative rail agreement. All 12 union’s leaders agreed. Eight have ratified. Look, we know this is not perfect. This President believes in paid leave for everyone and would love to work with Republicans to get a bipartisan deal. But right now, we have an agreement that has a 24% wage hike for workers, and this is just the time where we have to protect the overall economy, overall workers, overall families, overall basic health and safety by averting a rail strike.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett.
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