For Immediate Release
May 10, 2021
The Senate’s filibuster rule is a time-honored and historically bipartisan measure designed to respect and protect the rights of the minority party.
HARRISBURG - Today 40 chambers of commerce from across the state sent the following letter to Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, seeking clarification on his position regarding potential changes to the U.S. Senate’s long-held operating procedures, which some are advocating for in a quest to ram a far left-leaning and progressive agenda through the upper chamber. The chambers cited a letter Senator Casey signed in 2017 and comments he made to the media this past March.
A Copy of the Letter is Below:
Dear Senator Casey:
On behalf of our chambers of commerce, representing thousands of Pennsylvania employers, we write regarding the prospects of significant rule changes in the U.S. Senate.
A defining principle of the U.S. Senate throughout its existence has been respect for rights of the minority party and the ability for Senators to engage in extended debate, which helps facilitate compromise and moderation. Protecting these rights has historically been a bipartisan priority, and for good reason: a party serving in the majority may have the power to curtail minority party rights, but recognizes they will someday rely on those rights when the power dynamic shifts.
We were heartened when you were among a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who wrote a letter on April 7, 2017 urging preservation of “existing rules, practices, and traditions” and pushing back on calls to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. You opposed “any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of Senators to engage in full, robust, and extended debate as we consider legislation before this body in the future.”
At the time, Republicans controlled the White House, U.S. House and Senate and some were advocating for filibuster reform or elimination in order to advance the Republican agenda. While pieces of that agenda may have benefited Pennsylvania employers, we did not support filibuster reform at that time, recognizing the harm it would inflict on the institution and instability it fosters by discouraging compromise and leading to more dramatic swings of the pendulum as power shifts over time. Ultimately, Senate Republicans did not pursue broad filibuster reform.
We now find ourselves with Democrats in control and some advocating to curtail the filibuster, including organized labor seeking to pass the PRO Act, an extensive anti-employer rewrite of national labor law that will also harm many workers. As power has predictably shifted, it appears your views may have shifted as well. A March 24, 2021 WLVR article indicated you now support filibuster reform and were quoted saying “Two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have said that. I just have reached the point where I no longer believe the Senate is the institution that it used to be or that I used to believe it was…”
We wish to better understand your position and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your views on potential Senate rule reform.
Thank you for considering this request and our views on this important matter.
Back Mountain Chamber
Beaver County Chamber of Commerce
Bedford County Chamber of Commerce
Blair County Chamber of Commerce
Butler County Chamber of Commerce
Cambria Regional Chamber
Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce
Central PA Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce for Greater Montgomery County
Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry
Clarion Area Chamber of Business & Industry
Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership
Exton Region Chamber of Commerce
Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce
Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce
Greater Reading Chamber Alliance
Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce
Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce
Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce
Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC
Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce
Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce
Indiana County Chamber of Commerce
Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce
Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce
Norwin Chamber of Commerce
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Peters Township Chamber of Commerce
Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce
Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber
Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce
Somerset County Chamber of Commerce
Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of the Northern Poconos
The Main Line Chamber of Commerce
Venango Area Chamber of Commerce
Washington County Chamber of Commerce
West Shore Chamber of Commerce
Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce
Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.