Why Republican Party voted on the rail strike bill? - GulfToday

Why Republican Party voted on the rail strike bill?

Railroad workers carry out routine inspections of tracks in a Los Angeles area.

Railroad workers carry out routine inspections of tracks in a Los Angeles area.

Eric Garcia, The Independent

On Thursday, the Senate voted to avert a railroad strike by voting for the tentative agreement negotiated by President Joe Biden. For many Democrats, voting to avert a strike — especially one when railroad workers were fighting for paid sick leave — was a bitter pill to swallow.

Furthermore, the fact that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia sided with Republicans felt like a flashback to the old days of Build Back Better, when he opposed including paid family leave before he ultimately killed the package as a whole.

“We had it in the BBB, but it didn’t make the cut,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. “And so we’re not giving up on it.”

At the same time, plenty of Democrats shared the president’s fears that a railroad strike could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs during the holiday seasons, to say nothing of exacerbating the supply chain. This is probably why Mr Biden — who has billed himself as a pro-labor president and whom many Democrats kept calling “the most pro-union President we have had” as if it were an incantation — ultimately forced workers to eat dirt.

As we mentioned earlier this week, Republicans seemed to enjoy watching Democrats have to choose between an economic crisis or siding with labor unions. Senator John Cornyn had previously intimated that Republicans might support a paid sick leave provision. But he sided against it once Senator Bernie Sanders’s amendment came up to a vote. Ultimately only six Republicans — Senators Mike Braun of Indiana; Ted Cruz of Texas; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Josh Hawley of Missouri; John Kennedy of Louisiana; and Marco Rubio of Florida — voted for the paid sick leave amendment. As friend of the newsletter Manu Raju of CNN tweeted, Mr Cruz even gave Mr Sanders a fist-bump and Mr Sanders told the strident conservative “I knew you were a socialist.”

Mr Sanders, for his part, was sanguine about the fact his amendment got a majority of votes.

“Well, the good news is that the House of Representatives voted to guarantee paid sick days to workers in the rail industry,” he told your dispatcher. “We had every Democrat except one. And we had six Republicans. And I’m proud of that.”

Mr Braun, who filed to run for governor this week, defended his vote by telling The Independent that he’d run businesses for 37 years and never had a company where workers didn’t have designated time off: “You can’t plan when you’re gonna get sick or not,” he said. “I thought that didn’t make sense.”

Mr Hawley mocked the fact that House Democrats still allow proxy voting in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t as if workers were asking Congress to intervene on their behalf,” he said in a statement to reporters this week. “No, this was the White House and management and union bosses teaming up to use federal law to force workers to accept contracts they rejected in negotiations.”

Mr Cruz told your dispatcher that the vote is an example of how Republicans are the party of the working class while Democrats are the party of elites.

“I believe the Republican Party is a blue-collar party,” he told The Independent. “That is an important shift of the last decade that the people were fighting for every day or rail workers and truck drivers and steel workers and cops and firefighters and the Democrat Party, more and more, is becoming a party of urban elites.”

Mr Cruz is correct that Republicans continue to become a party that appeals to voters without a college education–including a party that can appeal to voters of color without a degree–while Democrats increasingly appeal to college-educated dwellers in urban areas (though they also increasingly appeal to voters in suburbs).

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