Failure to reach an agreement that would keep the nation's rail workers from going on strike next month is "not an option," and Congress will not allow matters to reach that point as it would be devastating to the national economy, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick said Sunday.
"We will get to a resolution one way or another," the Pennsylvania Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "We cannot have our transportation system which is responsible for one-third of our products being transported throughout our country shut down."
However, at this point it would be the "last resort" for Congress to step in, Fitzpatrick said.
The Biden administration has been involved in negotiations to avert the strike, but President Joe Biden said last week he has not yet become personally involved.
A stoppage could be crippling to the U.S. economy and cost as much as $2 billion a day by affecting energy, agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and retail sectors, according to official reports.
A strike could start as soon as Dec. 9, with train and engine workers at the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers' transportation division (SMART-TD), one of the largest rail workers unions in the nation, last week rejecting a contract that the administration negotiated, reports The Hill.
Fitzpatrick said that if the strike is not averted, Congress will be called back into session before Christmas. He added that he thinks Biden is involved in the negotiations, even if he has said he isn't.
"This is something that would be of significant concern economic concern and, therefore, political concern for the administration," he said. "I'm sure they are involved. They are probably waiting until the right time to reengage. It will be a few days before Christmas before this actually manifests. But Congress will not let the strike happen, that is for sure."
Fitzpatrick on Sunday also discussed the president's call for an assault rifle ban, saying he does agree that both sides need to work together to end gun violence in the nation.
"The reality is we have an epidemic here in the United States," he said. "It's not being experienced in any other country in the world."
But, said Fitzpatrick, all of the gun tragedies are linked together, when they need to be "unpacked" to determine what happened.
"We have had an issue with the background-check system, with Charleston," he said. "We had a problem with the mental health system. There are societal problems as well ... among our children throughout America, largely due to social media."
In the past, bullying ended at the end of a school day, he added; but now, social media allows it to continue all hours of the day.
"We have to fix the loopholes in our background system," said Fitzpatrick.
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