Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will meet with Senate Democrats Thursday to brief them on the railroad labor deal brokered by the Biden administration that four freight rail unions rejected, ahead of an expected vote on whether to block a potential rail strike.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide said that Buttigieg and Walsh will join Democrats at their caucus lunch meeting.
The Senate is expected to vote as soon as Thursday on legislation that would prevent a looming rail strike and give workers an additional seven days of paid sick leave, something that was not included in the deal worked out between railroad companies and workers.
But senators said Wednesday afternoon that they didn’t know whether they would vote on those measures separately or part of the same package.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warned that he will hold up the legislation if he doesn’t get a vote on adding more sick leave to the deal, even though that proposal doesn’t have much Republican support.
“If your question is will I demand that there be a vote on sick leave, yes, absolutely,” Sanders told reporters Wednesday.
Sanders, however, declined to say whether he would hold up legislation implementing the railway deal if it doesn’t include additional sick leave prior to coming to the floor.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he wants more sick leave added to the deal but he also declined to say whether he would support legislation blocking a rail strike if it didn’t address workers’ complaints about sick leave.
“I want sick leave in,” he said.
Republicans say the sick leave legislation probably won’t get 60 votes — the number needed to overcome a filibuster — if it comes to the Senate floor as a standalone measure.