News & Brews July 10, 2024

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Budget talks go into wee hours of the morning

PennLive reports that the Pa. House Appropriations Committee “started a meeting Tuesday night at 8:30 and ended it Wednesday just before 1 a.m. — despite taking no action.” Instead, “the meeting was placed at ease immediately after being gaveled in, and members left to confer privately — returning around 12:45 a.m., at which point [Committee Chair Rep. Jordan] Harris adjourned the meeting.” Previously, Harris had “told committee members and the press that a general appropriations bill — the core piece of the budget — was ready to go but told reporters after ending the meeting that ‘we decided not to move forward’ with the measure.” Meanwhile, GOP Appropriations Chair Rep. Seth Grove said of Democrats’ leadership on the budget, “Hopefully they get their stuff together.”

Where do Pa.’s U.S. reps stand on Biden?

Of the nine Democrat members of Pa.’s U.S. House delegation, opinions of whether President Biden should remain the party’s candidate or step aside are split. The Inquirer reports that Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (Chester and Berks counties) is “still thinking it through,” while Rep. Summer Lee (Allegheny and Westmoreland) said Biden needs to show voters “that he’s up for the task.” Rep. Susan Wild (Lehigh, Carbon, Northampton, and Monroe) expressed concerns in a leaked conversation. Reps. Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans (both Philly) are backing Biden, as are Reps. Madeleine Dean (MontCo), Mary Gay Scanlon (Delaware, Philly, Chester, and MontCo), and Chris Deluzio (Beaver and Allegheny). Rep. Matt Cartwright in northeast Pa. appears to be “distancing himself from the president without calling for him to step aside.”

Will the presidential race affect Pa. House majority? 

With Democrats holding a slim, one-vote majority in the Pa. House and Republicans hoping to change that, the AP considers whether and how the presidential contest could impact these down-ballot races, to the point of influencing which party controls the Legislature not only in Pa. but also in other swing states.

Sen. Casey ‘keeps campaign cash in the family’

The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “[f]ederal records appear to show an ongoing pipeline between Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and businesses or organizations with ties to friends and family.” For example, Casey’s “campaign has paid millions of dollars to Universal Printing Company for print advertising, according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). The Dunmore-based company is owned by Casey’s oldest sister….” This is just one scenario raising eyebrows.

Undecided GOP House primary inches closer to resolution

More than two months after the primary election, we’re getting closer to knowing the outcome of the Luzerne County House primary between incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Cabell and GOP challenger Jamie Walsh, who currently leads by three votes. WVIA reports that the Luzerne County Board of Elections scheduled a meeting for this Friday to count 12 undisputed provisional ballots as well as an additional provisional ballot that was challenged but allowed by a court ruling—if no other appeals are filed before then. But Walsh reportedly plans to file an appeal of the court ruling regarding two disputed provisional ballots (including the one mentioned above). If that appeal happens, the board will still meet Friday but count only the 12 unchallenged ballots.

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