Press Releases

For Immediate Release
May 10, 2021

For more information, contact
Tricia Harris, tharris@pachamber.org | 717.720.5447

Chambers Throughout Pennsylvania Call on Senator Casey to Keep Senate Operating Procedures Intact

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

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

 

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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.