The Senate is certainly a peculiar institution: only there do 52 yeas and 43 nays equal a victory for the nays. Sick, isn’t it?
It was George Washington who, during breakfast with Thomas Jefferson, supposedly first referred to the Senate as a saucer for cooling off “hot” legislation.
Indeed, many things have “cooled off” there, like anti-lynching laws, gun control, and various healthcare bills.
And now 42 Republican senators and one Democrat (I won’t say who, but let’s just say his first name rhymes with Shmo and he reminds me of a mansion in West Virginia) have “cooled” legislation that would have provided railway workers with seven days of paid sick leave each year.
The bill had previously passed the House with every Democrat and just three Republicans supporting it.
Here are all the nay votes in the Senate that prevented a cloture vote, preventing passage:
Rail corporations have made money hand over fist, doubling profit margins and spending billions on stock buybacks. It’s shameful the vast majority of Republican Senators blocked essential rail workers from receiving guaranteed paid sick leave.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 1, 2022
You might be shocked to learn (or you might not, maybe) that every one of these senators who was also in the Senate in 2017 voted for Trump’s tax cuts, which certainly helped out the rich enough.
Railroads made $21 billion in profits in the first 9 months of 2022.
Guaranteeing 7 paid sick days to rail workers would cost the industry $321 million/year.
That's just 1.5% of those profits.
Congress just rejected sick leave for these workers.
It's profits over everything.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 1, 2022
Many of them were also willing to give Trump a hand by voting against his impeachment, even after January 6.
Mike Lee, for one, spoke of giving Trump a “mulligan” for inciting the January 6 attack.
I guess he wanted to cut that poor guy some slack considering the humble origins Donald Trump had to survive.
At the time, Marsha Blackburn made clear that she would defend the rights of the persecuted, so long as they’re rich white guys who have been handed over fortunes and taken no responsibility for anything ever: “The House Impeachment Managers launched an unconstitutional show trial to humiliate the former President and his supporters,” she wrote on Twitter.
Defending Donald Trump? No problem! Standing up for corporations? You got it! But if you’re a struggling rail worker – you’re on your own!
To be fair, there are some Republicans I’m going to have to give credit to – the six who joined the Democrats. They were: Mike Braun of Indiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Ted Cruz of Texas.
(Yes, giving any credit to the last three really does hurt, and I’ve thrown up just a bit in my mouth, but it had to be done.)
As for the other Republicans – and one sorta Democrat – they won’t have to worry like the rail workers about how to manage to pay for daycare if they miss workdays and don’t get paid.
They won’t have to make decisions about whether they’re too sick to go to work that day and operate a mega-train.
Senators who have unlimited sick days and make $174,000 TAXPAYER dollars per year had the nerve to vote against giving rail workers 7 sick days.
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) December 1, 2022
American rail workers get 0 days of sick leave. Yes, you read that right. ZERO.
Senate Republicans just blocked a bill that would’ve given those rail workers 7 sick days a year.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) December 1, 2022
After the seven-days paid sick-leave bill failed, the vote to end the strike went 80-15 in favor, so those workers will be forced to return without having their very reasonable demand met and without being able to actually go on strike.
Maybe the Republicans just consider working people to death a “necessary evil” – as Tom Cotton (another “nay”) once said about slavery.
Here’s a question for you, dear reader: If the Senate went on strike, would we lose anything?
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