Washington Watch: Congress looks on track to avert rail strike


Top U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday indicated that Congress would intervene and block a railroad strike, with their comments coming a day after President Joe Biden called on the House and Senate to do exactly that.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters Tuesday that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, were aiming to pass legislation that would avert a strike as soon as possible.  

“Leader McConnell and I agreed we’d try to get it done ASAP,” Schumer said following a meeting with Biden and GOP leaders on year-end legislative priorities.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters that her chamber would consider legislation on Wednesday morning and send it over to the Senate.

“I don’t like going against the ability of unions to strike, but weighing the equities, we must avoid a strike,” she said.

As the meeting between Biden and top lawmakers began, the president said he was “confident” that a strike wouldn’t happen.

Analysts have sounded upbeat on the issue as well.

“In our view, a protracted strike is unlikely, because the Biden Administration and Congress view a supply chain disruption ahead of the holidays as ‘unacceptable’ and will have to step in,” Benjamin Salisbury, research director at Height Capital Markets, wrote in a note on Tuesday.

Railroad operators’ stocks jumped Tuesday while the broader market


lost ground. Shares in Norfolk Southern Corp. 

climbed 1.6%, CSX Corp. 

gained 1.5% and Union Pacific Corp. 

advanced 1.9%.

Related: Railroad stocks rally as strike risk effectively removed after President Biden urged Congress to step in

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