House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) today issued the following statement:
"We are following with concern the situation involving our nation's railways, and we are troubled by the possibility of a national railway strike that would jeopardize American jobs and cost our nation's economy an estimated $2 billion per day. While our hope is that the parties involved will find common ground and resolve the situation without congressional involvement, the House is prepared to take legislative action in the days ahead to avert a job-destroying shutdown of our nation's railroads, in the event such legislation proves necessary. A shutdown of our nation's railways, which would harm our economy and endanger many American jobs, is unacceptable. We are confident President Obama and the leaders of the Senate agree."
NOTE: Under the terms of the Railway Labor Act, President Obama established a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to investigate labor disputes between the nation's railroads and unions representing the nation's freight railroad workers. On November 5, 2011, the PEB issued its recommendations, and parties must agree on a path forward by December 6, when a ban on rail strikes will expire. While unions representing a majority of the nation's freight railroad workers have agreed to terms that would resolve the situation, a few remaining unions have not -- raising the possibility of a national railway strike during the holiday season that would destroy American jobs and harm the nation's economy. Congress has intervened with the nation's railways on 19 previous occasions in U.S. history to preserve interstate commerce, as authorized in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.