President Biden on Tuesday laid out a slew of ambitious legislative priorities for the rest of the year during a White House meeting with congressional leaders to map out their lame-duck session ahead of the new Congress.
“I asked for top leaders in Congress to come in and talk about what we’re going to do between now and Christmas,” the president said. “There’s a lot to do, including resolving the train strike.”
A looming rail strike threatens to cripple the nation’s economy if a deal between rail workers and freight carriers isn’t reached by the Dec. 9 deadline. Mr. Biden on Monday asked Congress to intervene to avert the potential strike.
Avoiding a railroad strike isn’t the only item on the president’s to-do list. Mr. Biden said he also wants Congress to find a way to keep the government funded past Dec. 16, work on the coronavirus response and approve money to aid Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
“And we’re going to find other areas of common ground,” Mr. Biden said.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attended the meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Vice President Kamala Harris also attended.
The meeting was Mr. Biden’s first with congressional leaders since the midterm elections. Democrats did better than expected, but Republicans will take control of the House in January. That means Democrats and Mr. Biden must try to fulfill their legislative wish list in the coming weeks.
Mrs. Pelosi announced after the midterm elections that she will not seek a leadership role in the next Congress. Mr. McCarthy won the Republican nomination for speaker but is facing some opposition. It is unclear if he will have the necessary votes to win the position in January.