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July 3-4: Happy 247th Birthday

Declaration of Independence

🎇 It’s Monday. Hopefully, you’re not working today like me. We’re off tomorrow and back on Wednesday.

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Pittsburgh | Mostly Cloudy, showers likely, 82
Harrisburg | Partly Sunny, chance of showers, 86
Philadelphia | Partly Sunny, chance of rain, 90

PA Sports
Phillies (44-39) | Washington 4-5 | Tu-Th vs. Tampa Bay
Pirates (39-44) | Milwaukee 3-6 | M-Th vs. LA Dodgers
Union (10-4-6) | Atlanta 0-2 | Sat vs. LA Galaxy

What We’re Hearing
“This is language that has been carefully crafted between the Senate Republican majority, and our new Democratic governor.” – Sen. Joe Pittman

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Rep. Valerie Gaydos and Rep. George Dunbar.

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Top Story

1. Pennsylvania’s Playbook For Democrats

President Biden, Gov. Shapiro discussing I-95 project

“The pivotal political battleground of Pennsylvania is demonstrating that there’s still a critical mass of Trump-supporting swing voters that will back the right type of Democrat under certain circumstances.

Why It Matters: The party that wins over the Pennsylvania voter that backed President Obama in 2012, President Trump in 2016 and Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) in 2022 will have the inside track toward winning the presidency in 2024.

It’s a larger persuadable voting bloc than you’d expect, given the intense partisanship and polarization across the country. Fetterman, in particular, exceeded expectations in rural Trump-friendly counties with large recent increases in GOP registration.

Gov. Josh Shapiro, a moderate Democrat elected by 16 points in 2022, is showcasing a pragmatic playbook designed to win over these swing voters in his first months in office.” (Axios)


PA’s Shapiro Could Help Biden Mend Blue Wall Cracks Before 2024. “President Joe Biden could have some problems as he attempts to rebuild his so-called blue wall of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin ahead of next year’s election. But in the Keystone State, he might just have a secret weapon: Gov. Josh Shapiro.” (Washington Examiner

A PA Congressman Is In The Middle Of The Action As Congress Debates The Farm Bill. “In his first year as chair of the House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson is the center of attention on Capitol Hill. That’s because Mr. Thompson, holds an outsized role in drafting what will be one of the consequential pieces of legislation to clear the 118th Congress — the bill setting agriculture policy and renewing farm programs for the next five years. ” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Bob Casey, Once A Pro-Life Democrat, Says The Term Is ‘Antiquated’ After Dobbs. “I don’t believe that the terminologies we used before Dobbs make much sense anymore,” Casey told The Messenger on Friday when asked whether he still considers himself pro-life. “It’s almost the terminology of pre-Dobbs is antiquated.” (The Messenger)

Toomey’s Post-Senate Jobs Are Renewing Calls To Close Washington’s Revolving Door. “A few weeks before he left the U.S. Senate in January, Pat Toomey helped block the Enablers Act, a bipartisan proposal designed to curtail corruption and money laundering. Since then, the Pennsylvania Republican has taken jobs in a pair of industries — private equity and cryptocurrency — that lobbied aggressively against the bill, sparking calls to overhaul ethics laws and address what’s known as “the revolving door” between government and the private sector.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Self-Inflicted Voting Machine Misinformation Crisis Looming Over 2024. “The federal government is about to change its certification guidelines for voting machines — and election officials across the country are bracing for a wave of misinformation that erodes trust in the 2024 election.” (POLITICO)



2. Harrisburg Has Missed Its Budget Deadline Again. Will It Affect You?

“Officials in Harrisburg have blown another June 30 budget deadline.

“If a budget is a couple weeks late, it’s not a problem for the recipients of state money,” said G. Terry Madonna, senior fellow in residence for political affairs at Millersville University in Lancaster. “But if (it drags) later in the summer, then it becomes a problem.” (


PA To Begin New Fiscal Year Without Budget Plan In Place. “Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Senate passed spending legislation hours ahead of Saturday’s start of a new fiscal year, but they lacked agreement with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to keep state government’s full spending authority intact.” (AP)

Shapiro Cancels Teachers Union Appearance In Philly, As PA Budget Talks Continue. “It comes as Gov. Josh Shapiro continues to receive intense backlash from teachers unions and organized labor for his support of a private school voucher program for Pennsylvania students who attend the state’s lowest-performing public schools.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Democrats Huddle On The Overdue PA Budget. “Negotiations toward a past-due state budget went into the weekend with House Democrats in disagreement, at least publicly, with Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro over a scholarship program aimed at students in low-performing public schools.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

House, Senate Standoff Over Budget Bills Delays Deadline Deal. “Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate on Friday doubled-down on the plan they laid out on Thursday night by passing a $45.5 billion budget that includes funding for a school voucher program. That plan, as expected, met resistance in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, meaning the state will enter the 2023-24 fiscal year, which began Saturday, without a budget.” (PennLive)

PA’s Washington Delegation Speaks Out On Court’s Student-Debt Relief Ruling. The Supreme Court on Friday blocked the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan in a 6-3 decision, stopping more than 40 million borrowers from receiving loan forgiveness and delivering a major defeat to one of the president’s key campaign promises. Here are some reactions from Pennsylvania’s delegation in Washington.  (PoliticsPA)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Moms For Liberty’s Focus On School Races Nationwide Sets Up Political Clash With Teachers Unions

Parental rights' group Moms for Liberty plans nationwide strategy for school board races in 2024 – NBC10 Philadelphia

“Moms for Liberty, a “parental rights” group that has sought to take over school boards in multiple states, is looking to expand those efforts across the country and to other education posts in 2024 and beyond. The effort is setting up a clash with teachers unions and others on the left who view the group as a toxic presence in public schools.” (AP)


Anti-Trans Agenda Is A Focal Point Of Philadelphia Moms For Liberty Summit. “A major theme of the conference, raised repeatedly by speakers, has been denying transgender identity — in addition to arguing that schools shouldn’t teach about the topic. A 2022 analysis found that 1.6 million people in the United States, including 300,000 youth over the age of 13, identify as transgender.” (Philadelphia Inquirer) 

Ups and Downs. What a week. From the U.S. Supreme Court to the halls of Harrisburg, here are our Ups and Downs for June 26-30. (PoliticsPA)

Forward Party Sets Sights On PA. “A new political party wants to bridge the partisan divide and give voters more sway over the election process.” (The Center Square)



4. What They’re Saying


1 Thing

5. The Declaration Of Independence

Founding Fathers' Blunders Aged the Declaration of Independence | Live Science

On July 4, 1776, the United States officially declared its independence from the British Empire when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was authored by a “Committee of Five” — John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman — with Jefferson as the main drafter. But Jefferson himself later admitted that he was merely looking to reflect the “mind of Americans”—bringing together the core principles at the heart of the American Revolution.

An Excerpt. “WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” (Tribune-Review)


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