(FreedomBeacon.com)- A majority of House Republicans voted “no” on a bill to give railroad workers paid sick leave, according to Newsweek. The bill was designed to avert a nationwide rail strike that many feared would cripple the U.S. economy before Christmas and projected would cost the U.S. billions of dollars per day.
Most rail workers reportedly do not receive paid sick time. They currently have short-term disability benefits for as little as four days that they can use to replace some of their income for the year, in addition to vacation and personal leave days. Paid sick days are a tentative point in negotiations between the unions and railroad companies.
Unions initially asked for 15 paid sick days but settled on one personal day. Under the current deal, workers have no short-term paid days.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley said that this was the time for Republicans to prove that they are pro-worker, but they did not seize the opportunity. The Senate, which tacked the provision the House voted in favor of as an amendment, did not receive the 60 votes needed.
Hawley, along with Sens. Mike Braun, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, John Kennedy, and Marco Rubio, voted with Democrats in favor.
The Senate also rejected the main bill that would have reportedly given workers three unpaid sick days on the condition that employees gave the company a 30-day notice before the time was taken.
“These are working-class independent voters, many of them Republican voters, I mean in my state there’s over 3,000 of these railroad workers,” Hawley said, adding that these workers just want to make a good living.
Many politicians who voted “no” on the bill questioned whether it was Congress’ role to step into labor disputes.
Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who was the only Democrat to vote against the measure, said that he was sympathetic to the workers’ concerns, but ultimately did not think it was the job of Congress to “renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement.”