Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Sunday defended the Democrats’ vote to impose a union contract on railroad workers to avert a potential strike, citing the potential adverse effects of a rail closure on the U.S. economy.
President Joe Biden had called on Congress to approve a contract between unions and railroad networks before the December 9 strike UKTN. All Senate Democrats voted in favor of the seven sick-day contract, except for Sen. Joe Manchin (UKTN.Va.). The measure received support from six Republicans.
“Had there been a strike, literally hundreds of thousands, maybe more workers would have been out of work for a long period of time,” Brown told UKTN’s “State of the Union.” “We have to look at the whole economy, but I will never lose focus on those workers who didn’t get as good a deal as we would have liked.”
Brown added that he will continue to work with the White House and Republicans to address the issue.
Brown’s reelection chances in 2024 appear to have been weakened by Democrat Tim Ryan’s failure to defeat Republican JD Vance for Ohio’s other Senate seat.
The midterm elections were another example of the political realignment that has taken place in the state over the past decade. Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, won the gubernatorial race with over 60% of the vote. The state has voted for Trump in the past two presidential elections.
But Brown, a progressive populist who has been in office since 2006, insisted Ohio is still a swing state.
“Of course it is. I’m not worried,” he told UKTN’s Jake Tapper. “I know it’s always a challenge, but I’m going to do my job.”
Brown, chair of the Senate banking committee, also countered criticism that Congress failed to protect Americans who invest in crypto after the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX last month, leaving more than a million creditors empty-handed.
“To say that Congress has done nothing is not entirely accurate. We held a series of hearings to expose the problems with crypto, the problems for consumers, the problems for our economy here, and the problems internationally and for our national security. We will continue with that,” said Brown.
He added that he “would like to do something legislative”.
“I don’t know if Congress is able to do that because of crypto’s hold on one political party in the Senate and House,” he said.