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House Democrat deflects on sick leave not being included in rail deal

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) on Sunday said it was “a national shame” the U.S. does not have guaranteed sick leave pay but avoided a question on not including such a provision in legislation passed last week to avoid a railroad strike.

When asked by moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if she was “comfortable” with passing a bill preventing the addition of more paid sick leave days for railroad workers, Clark said Democrats would continue pushing to create a federal law guaranteeing paid sick leave.

“We have met absolute resistance from the GOP,” she said. “Our commitment is not to back down from this issue but to continue to press. It is good for workers, and it is good for the economy.”

President Biden signed the railroad legislation into law last week, preventing a workers strike that would have further damaged an economy struggling with high inflation and supply chain issues.

Some union leaders have expressed anger at Biden and congressional Democrats for not including a guarantee of seven days of paid sick leave in the bill, a major sticking point in the failed negotiations between unions reps and railroad companies.

Biden has defended signing the bill, saying not doing so would have “devastated our economy.” He said while he didn’t think the provision would be included in the agreement passed by Congress last week due to GOP opposition, he would still work on guaranteeing such leave for unionized rail workers.

The president also said he will continue fighting for a federal law guaranteeing paid sick leave.

Source: The Hill

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