The House of Representatives was put into a "horrible position" by the White House by having to vote to block a rail strike, Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, told Newsmax on Wednesday.
The House voted 290-137 on Wednesday to block the strike, which could have cost the U.S. about $2 billion a day, imposing a labor agreement between rail companies and their workers.
Four of the 12 unions that represent more than 100,000 employees at large freight rail carriers voted against a labor agreement brokered by the Biden administration. The unions had threatened to strike if an agreement wasn't reached by a Dec. 9 deadline.
"It was a horrible position the White House put us in by not being able to handle this back in September, when this was first on their radar," Van Duyne told "American Agenda." "You have [President Joe] Biden coming to us hat in hand, tail between his legs having to beg now Congress to act because his administration failed."
Congress has previously intervened with legislation in railway and airline disputes that threatened disruptions in the economy. Despite her reservations, Van Duyne said she voted to block the strike because of national security concerns.
"It's not just, you know, Tommy not being able to get his Tonka truck for Christmas," Van Duyne said. "We're looking at some national security issues, specifically some of the things that get shipped by rail that include things like chlorine [for] municipalities to be able to have clean water, and that was on the line right now.
"I represent north Texas and you look at Texas and all its fuel. You look at things like coal and liquid natural gas and ethanol at a time when people are going to need that to be able to heat their homes, to be able to get to work."
The vote put Democrats in an uncomfortable position because unions are a big part of their base. To placate the unions, they offered a measure to add seven days of paid sick leave a year for rail workers. That measure narrowly passed the House 221-207 and only takes effect if the Senate agrees to it and passes the original measure. Van Duyne said she voted against the paid sick leave.
"I think that needs to be negotiated between the businesses," Van Duyne said. "I think you're put in a bad position when you're having to ratify an agreement that was made by an administration because you don't want to empower the unions to say every single time … all you have to do is strike and Congress will help. We don't want to do that."
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