Senate Republicans Unveil Counter Infrastructure Proposal
As talks continue on a possible federal infrastructure plan, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, joined with three other high-ranking members of his caucus to offer a counter proposal that would spend $928 billion over eight years. President Biden had initially sought an expansive $2.2 trillion package to fund a wide variety and undeniably broad definition of infrastructure projects. With Republicans balking at the steep price tag and inclusion of non-infrastructure initiatives, the White House has since reduced its proposal to $1.7 trillion. The administration called the Republicans counterproposal a “constructive” step in the negotiation process. However, there continues to be disagreement over how such a package should be funded and the definition of what types of projects should fall under the “infrastructure” banner. In remarks last week, Toomey once again voiced Republican’s strong opposition to raising the corporate tax rate to pay for the plan. You can read more about the situation in this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
State Department of Health Drops Lawsuits Against Restaurants That Violated Wolf Administration’s Mitigation Orders
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced it has dropped lawsuits against 46 restaurants that didn’t adhere to the administration’s order banning in-person dining last December. According to a report by abc27 News, the department originally filed the lawsuits in January, seeking to recover “any money the restaurants made during the ban” as well as “punitive damages for the willful and wanton violation of the orders.” Citing a decline in new cases and an increase in vaccinations, the department recently decided to drop the suits. “The majority of restaurants have come into compliance with the Secretary of Health’s orders to protect their customers from the spread of COVID-19 within their communities. Therefore, the commonwealth discontinued taking action against these businesses,” a DOH spokesman told reporters.
Two More Candidates Announce Bids for 2022 Gubernatorial Race
The field of contenders seeking the Republican nomination for the 2022 gubernatorial election has gotten a little more crowded with two new candidates formally throwing their hat into the ring. Hailing from western Pennsylvania, attorney Jason Richey said he is running to change the economic trajectory of the state. As part of his campaign platform, he has developed a 12-point plan he has framed as his Contract with Pennsylvanians to promote economic growth and opportunity.
Across the state, Poconos resident and renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Nche Zama has also entered the race. He is running on a platform of improving the state’s education and healthcare systems and growing the economy. In a press release issued by his campaign, Zama said that as governor he would “lead the best teams to transform Pennsylvania into a globally competitive force that serves the people of this Commonwealth.”