Lawmakers applaud port labor deal

Lawmakers applaud port labor deal
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Lawmakers are applauding a tentative agreement that was reached on Friday to end a contentious labor dispute that led to a partial shutdown of 29 ports on the west coast.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.D.) said the deal, which would end a nine-month port labor standoff, is long overdue. 

"Despite the unnecessary impacts of this prolonged labor dispute, I urge swift adoption so that agricultural producers and businesses can regain the full use of ports on the West Coast to ship goods overseas and receive necessary shipments of merchandise,” Thune said in a statement after the agreement was announced. 

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“There's no question the slowdown has cost billions of dollars through unnecessary harm to American businesses and consumers,” he continued. 

Democrats were more sympathetic to labor leaders in the standoff, but they also expressed relief at the announcement of a deal. 

"This tentative agreement is great news for our economy and a huge relief to businesses and workers on the West Coast and all across the country,” Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerPolls show big bounce to Biden ahead of Super Tuesday Sanders poised for big Super Tuesday Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden MORE (D-Calif.) said. 

"I am grateful to President Obama and Secretary Perez for their efforts to help the parties resolve their differences, and I urge all sides to work quickly to ease the backlog of goods waiting to move through our ports," Boxer continued. 

The original contract between ports and dock workers was slated to expire in July. Despite negotiations, the two sides were only able to agree to temporary extensions until Friday's breakthough. The long standoff led to cargo delays and ports being forced to scale back operations, including a four-day closure over the President’s Day holiday weekend that riled retail groups. 

Rep. Janice HahnJanice Kay HahnThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks GOP struggles with retirement wave Democrats blast return of 'no-match' letters MORE (D-Calif.) said she was also “celebrating” the conclusion of the labor strife at West Coast ports. 

“The entire country is breathing a sigh of a relief given the importance of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the West Coastports generally, to our nation’s economy,” she said.  “We all benefit – workers, businesses, consumers – from having our ports operating smoothly and keeping cargo moving.  This deal ends the uncertainty endured by the dockworkers who have worked without a contract since last July.” 

Labor Secretary Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, who was brought in by President Obama to resolve the port standoff, tweeted that the agreement would give “the American people peace of mind we need to continue building our middle class, together.”