The White House meeting included Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Their talks came amid the threat of a nationwide freight strike as a labor deal has divided members of two of the country’s biggest rail unions.
The politicians “discussed how Congress can act to prevent a rail shutdown, which would have devastating consequences for workers, families and our economy,” according to a White House reading.
Without the freight train, many American industries would shut down, Biden said in a statement released Monday.
“Up to 765,000 Americans, many union workers, could be out of a job in the first two weeks alone,” the statement read. “Communities could lose access to the chemicals needed to ensure clean drinking water. Farms and ranches across the country may not be able to feed their livestock.”
Pelosi later said the House of Representatives would take up legislation this week to adopt a tentative agreement between rail workers and operators.
On Tuesday, Biden and the leaders of the US Congress also discussed how to maintain government funding, resources to fight COVID-19 and aid to Ukraine, the White House said.
McCarthy, who is seeking to be elected speaker of the House of Representatives next term, told reporters Tuesday that Republicans will prioritize border security and cutting spending, among other things.
Republicans flipped the House in this year’s midterm elections, while Democrats retained their majority in the Senate for the next Congress, which will meet for the first time on January 3, 2023. ■