State & Federal Political Recap

Vote ‘YES’ on May 18!
Voters headed to the polls on Primary Election Day – Tuesday, May 18 – will be presented with several ballot questions on which the PA Chamber is urging a “yes” vote across the board. Ballot questions 1 and 2 relate to the pandemic response, with a YES vote allowing a majority of state lawmakers to end emergency declarations and restrictions on citizens with a majority vote.  These amendments will restore the voice of the people during long-term emergency declarations. A YES vote on ballot question 3 would amend the state Constitution to prohibit the denial of equal rights based on race and ethnicity – something we can and should all support! You can learn more about the questions you’ll see when you head to the polls next month by visiting


Garrity Backs Bartos
State Treasurer Stacy Garrity has voiced her support for fellow Republican Jeff Bartos in next year’s big race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA. In her public endorsement, Garrity lauded Bartos for his recent work with the Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit he co-founded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help small businesses and their employees sustain through a very uncertain and financially difficult time. And while Garrity also touted her support for Bartos based on his status as a political “outsider,” he really is no stranger to the Pennsylvania political scene. In 2017, he initially announced a bid for the 2018 U.S. Senate race, but ended his campaign to join state Sen. Scott Wagner’s gubernatorial campaign as his lieutenant governor candidate. Out of the gate in the 2022 race, Bartos has the highest name ID among Republicans statewide and has thus jumped out to an early fundraising advantage among the declared GOP candidates. He faces competition from former GOP congressional candidate Kathy Barnette, attorney Sean Gale and businessman Everett Stern – among other members of the party who have either already filed or are said to be considering a run.


President Biden Calls for 50 Percent Reduction in Emissions
The Biden administration has big plans to enact sweeping climate goals – with or without the support of Congress. A Politico article delves into President Biden’s pledge to slash U.S. emissions of greenhouse gasses by 50 to 52 percent compared with 2005 levels – far more aggressive than former President Barack Obama’s proposal just five years ago – which he announced days before the White House’s two-day virtual climate summit with 40 world leaders. According to the article, many experts doubt whether these goals will be achievable without the enactment of significant portions of the multi-trillion-dollar American Jobs Plan that the president is currently working to get through a sharply divided Congress. However, administration officials are expressing confidence that their 2030 emissions reduction target is achievable even without legislation, saying that “the trend towards the utilization of clean energy technology around the world is both steep and secular.” The business community has expressed reservations with the president’s announcement – calling on him to embrace natural gas as part of his proposal to reduce emissions.


Senate Republicans Unveil Counter Infrastructure Proposal
President Biden has talked a lot about his desire for compromise – but both sides of the political aisle remain a long way apart in terms of spending money. Take the American Jobs Plan, for example – Congressional Democrats are working to get a $2.5 trillion infrastructure spending package to the president’s desk – but Republicans have countered with a plan to spend less than $1 trillion. Democrats are calling it a “non-starter” and not the basis for which bipartisan negotiations should proceed. According to Politico, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, who is among a group of bipartisan lawmakers trying to work out a deal, is preparing to unveil a $600 to $800 billion bill focusing on roads, bridges and broadband infrastructure over several years and be paid for with fees on transportation users and unspent COVID-19 relief funds. Senator Capito acknowledged that her plan falls far below what Democrats want, but pretty much spoke for everyone by asking “Could we just kind of tone the rhetoric down here and really try to get something done?” Over on the Democratic side of the aisle, close Biden ally U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE, has suggested that the infrastructure proposal be separated into two bills – one that can pass with bipartisan support and the second with only Democratic support; and PA’s U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, said “we’re not going to get the kind of revenue we need.”


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.