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February 15: Battle Lines Drawn

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What We’re Hearing
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is rolling out endorsements of 19 Democratic congressional candidates, including Ashley Ehasz in PA-01, whom it calls “sexual and reproductive health champions,” the organization’s first round of support for non-incumbent House contenders this cycle.

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Top Story

1. Fitzpatrick, House GOP Lawmakers To Offer Their Own Ukraine, Border Bill

Portada 14 Febrero 2024

“House Republicans are planning to unveil a Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and border bill as an alternative to the border-free package that passed the Senate on Tuesday, a lawmaker leading the effort said Wednesday.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick told reporters the proposed pathway could be revealed as early as Thursday — and that he will brief Speaker Mike Johnson on its contents prior to its release.

“We were just told that the president will not sit down with him,” said the Pennsylvania centrist, who also co-chairs the Congressional Ukraine Caucus. “So it’s kind of hard to negotiate when the president won’t sit down with him.”” (POLITICO)

Related

Democratic Voters In Pennsylvania’s Competitive Bucks County Say They’re Unconcerned About Biden’s Age. “Most who spoke to CBS News dismissed concerns about the president’s age, which were brought into the spotlight by special counsel Robert Hur’s classified records report.” (CBS News)

After Robert Hur’s Biden Age Comments, Could Any Democrats Really Take His Place In 2024? “Thanks largely to a special counsel report, longstanding anxieties about President Joe Biden’s vigor have reemerged as a campaign issue at a moment when Democrats would rather talk about anything else.” (USA Today)

Democrats Are Trying To Turn The GOP’s 2024 Senate Contenders Into Dr. Oz. “Framing Republican candidates as carpetbaggers has become key to Democrats’ strategies in top Senate races such as those in Montana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.” (NBC News)

Voting Expert Calls For Constitutional Amendment Affirming Right To Vote. “Election law expert Richard Hasen is calling for a Constitutional Amendment that would affirmatively lay out Americans’ right to vote. He argues that it would protect voting rights, reduce discrimination at the ballot box, and also protect election integrity.” (WBUR)

 

State

2. Garrity’s Decision To Invest More PA Money In Israel Bonds Draws Protest, Democratic Opposition

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“As protesters push Pennsylvania’s state treasurer to divest from Israel amid mounting Palestinian deaths, Stacy Garrity is defending her decision to send taxpayer money to the country and drawing flak from political opponents who question her motives.

Garrity announced a few days after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that she purchased an additional $20 million in Israel Bonds — an investment security that is backed by the country’s government and pitched as one of the “greatest opportunities to express support for the State of Israel.”

The Republican said it was “important to show our support at a time when the people of Israel are facing horrific terrorism” by increasing Pennsylvania’s existing investment.” (Spotlight PA)

Related

Battle Lines Drawn In Congressional Races. “Petitions are in … and now we have a better look at the candidates for congressional seats in the 2024 Pennsylvania primary.” (PoliticsPA)

A Chester County Judge’s Signature Appeared On A Candidate’s Petition. But She Says It’s Not Hers. “Chester County Judge Alita Rovito is listed as one of the 17-pages worth of Chester County residents who signed petitions for Mark Pinsley, but the judge said she didn’t sign it.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Senator’s Accusation Of Fraud Against Candidate Taiba Sultana Rocks Easton-Area PA House Race. “The local 2024 election cycle got off to an ugly start Wednesday after a candidate for state representative turned in an apparently forged signature as part of her candidate petition earlier this week.” (LehighValleyNews.com)

Goring Claims State Rep. Bizzarro Made Threat. Bizzarro Says GOP Opponent ‘Bought’ By PAC. “Micah Goring, the Republican candidate running for state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro’s seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, alleges that the Democratic incumbent on Monday “used vaguely intimidating language” to urge him to get out of the race, a claim Bizzarro denies.” (Erie Times-News)

 

Around The Commonwealth

3. ‘He Wants To Run For President’: Lawmakers React To Shapiro’s Budget Proposal

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“The Pennsylvania state legislature has had a chance to read the governor’s budget proposal and Democrats are mostly supportive while Republicans are not so much.

House Republican Appropriations Chairman Seth Grove has no love for Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal and spent nearly an hour counting the ways.

“Everything sounds good when you want to give puppies and kittens and chocolate and candy to everybody. But there’s a cost to that,” said Grove.” (ABC27)

Related

Shapiro Talks Up Main Street Investments, Gets Some Shopping Done In Mt. Lebanon. “Call it a demonstration of retail politics: Gov. Josh Shapiro visited Mt. Lebanon Wednesday, making a case for his budget plan and its proposed investment in neighborhood business districts — and he got in a little shopping on the way.” (WESA)

Many Competitive Races Anticipated For November General Election. “There will likely be a slew of competitive congressional and state House races in the region for this year’s general election, although there is only a sprinkling of contested races for the upcoming April 23 primary.” (Uniontown Herald-Standard)

Pennsylvania Airports To Get Share Of $1 Billion In Federal Airport Terminal Funding. “Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Lancaster airports are all receiving money for projects that are underway.” (Penn Capital-Star)

Rural Hospitals ‘On The Brink Of Disaster’. “Making rural health care better in Pennsylvania may require some significant changes in state law.” (The Center Square)

 

Editorial

4. What’s On Your Mind

  • PA’s Legislature Is Using Your Money To Set Records – For Itself. (John Baer)
  • Former President Trump Called Out This Pennsylvania Pundit In His Rally At The Farm Show: Jeffrey Lord. (Joyce Davis)
  • Reproductive Choice And Other Freedoms Are At Stake In 2024. (Amy Widestrom)
  • Americans Want Action On Guns, But Republicans Don’t Have A Plan. (Robert Schentrup)
  • When The Game Of Politics Plunges Into Dangerous Spectacle. (Mary C. Curtis)
  • Election For Santos Seat Strikes Familiar Chord In Pennsylvania. (Tribune-Review)

 

1 Thing

5. The ‘Taylor’ Version

Taylor Swift Hits 100 Million Spotify Listeners, First Female Artist To Do So

“While most Americans reject the latest Taylor Swift election conspiracy theories, about one-third of Republicans are buying them.

According to a new poll from Monmouth University, 32% of surveyed Republicans believe that the popular singer is part of a “covert government effort” to reelect President Joe Biden, a Democrat, later this year.

Overall, 18% of Americans indicated they believed in the undercover effort.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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