Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, defended the federal government's decision to intervene in a labor dispute between railroad unions and rail companies on Sunday, arguing that a rail strike would have been disastrous for the U.S. economy.
"The issue here is we have to keep the economy going," Brown said on CNN's State of the Union.
President Joe Biden, who has described himself as a "pro-union" president, has faced backlash from union leaders and allies for intervening in the dispute. The legislation that Congress passed and that Biden later signed contained no provisions for paid sick leave for railroad workers, a key demand from the unions.
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An amendment was proposed in the Senate to add paid sick leave to the bill, but failed to earn the 60 votes needed to be added by a vote of 52-43. Only one Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin voted against the amendment.
Six Republicans voted for the amendment: Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Brown placed the blame on Republicans for failing to push through paid sick leave in the final legislation.
"I will never lose my focus on those workers who didn't get as good a deal as we liked to have had," Brown. "Almost every Republican voted no."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sen. Sherrod Brown pushes back on criticism of railroad legislation