(The Center Square) – A rail shutdown that would have cost the economy billions according to experts was averted by a Senate vote on Thursday.
The Senate voted 80 to 15 to approve a deal that gives railroad workers a 24 percent raise over the next five years. A second bill that would have added seven days of paid sick leave was rejected.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, RN.D., and Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., urged her colleagues not to pass a second bill. They said in a letter that going in his place will be an example.
“Some workers in regulated industries may also be gambling in the future, making Congress the arbiter of labor disputes instead of the National Mediation Board,” Cramer said. “It is in the best interest of all parties that the railroads, not Congress, solve problems like paid leave for their employees.”
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill.
A railroad strike would add to the financial crisis already plaguing the economy and cost $2 billion a day, according to Cramer. Shopping news is improving, but consumer prices are still rising, according to a The Federal Reserve’s November Beige Bookwhich compiles financial data from 12 Fed departments.
The country’s financial crisis may be the result of “free money” thrown into the market, Cramer said in an interview with The Center Square.
“It’s building airplanes while we’re flying but not knowing or having a kind of uncertain shutdown of diseases that we don’t know well and Republicans and Democrats alike have spent a lot of money trying to keep the economy going while the economy is going down,” Cramer said. “The problem is that we’re coming out of it, the Biden administration put a little over a trillion dollars into the economy when the economy is improving and people are going back to work. They spent a lot of money, unnecessarily, in my opinion, and it’s causing inflation to disappear.”
Cramer said he supports the Federal Reserve’s recent moves to reduce demand for goods and services, but he wishes the move was less dramatic. The Fed has raised interest rates by 0.75 percent this year. But work needs to be done on the other side of the equation that has led to the financial crisis that drives supply, Cramer said.
“What the Biden administration has done instead of encouraging them to provide aid is to limit and limit their presence because of the increase,” Cramer said.