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Scanlon Denounces Parents’ Rights Bill as ‘Right-Wing Straight Jacket’

House Republicans passed the federal Parents Bill of Rights Act on Friday over the unanimous opposition of congressional Democrats, including the Delaware Valley delegation.

The legislation expands the rights of parents to be informed about the materials their children are taught, the medical care and counseling they receive at school, and any violence that occurs on campus.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Chester), an outspoken opponent, denounced the legislation as a “right-wing straight jacket.”

“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle often talk about being the party of small government and local control,” Scanlon said during Thursday’s floor debate. “They condemn the intrusion of the federal government into local affairs,” she continued. “But this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to nationalize our education system and mandate a one-size-fits-all approach across the country.”

“Assuming the size that fits,” she added, “is a right-wing straight jacket.”

Democrats broadly condemned the bill in general. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested the law was an example of “fascism,” while her fellow New Yorker Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries claimed Republicans were seeking to “ban books” and “bring guns into classrooms, kindergarten, and above.”

The measure passed 213-208, with five Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. Local Democratic Reps. Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, and Chrissy Houlahan voted no. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick voted yes.

Scanlon’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Democrats claimed the legislation is “anti-gay” and “anti-trans” because it forbids federally funded schools from hiding a student’s transgender identity from their parents. Currently, some public school systems, including some in the Delaware Valley, instruct teachers and administrations to keep children’s behavior secret from parents, even if that means lying to moms and dads.

The law also directs schools to make all reading materials within a school’s library available to parents upon request.

Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Dan Meuser wrote on Twitter that the bill would grant parents “the right to be heard,” “the right to know what their kids are being taught,” “the right to reasonably protect their children’s privacy,” and “the right to keep their kids safe.”

Rep. John Joyce, a Republican representing central Pennsylvania,  said the bill is “a strong step towards supporting Pennsylvania parents and students.”

The bill’s passage is almost certainly doomed to fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate. It would also be highly unlikely to clear President Joe Biden’s veto.

The text of the bill also stipulates that parents shall retain “the right to review, and make copies of, at no cost, the curriculum of their child’s school,” as well as the right to know if a school employee moves to “treat, advise, or address a student’s mental health, suicidal ideation, or instances of self-harm.”

Federally funded schools would also be required to obtain parental consent before “allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.”

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) added to the bill an amendment requiring the federal government to assess the “costs to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, elementary schools, and secondary schools” resulting from the act.

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PA Politicians Push ‘Abortion On Demand’ Legislation After SCOTUS Leak

In the wake of a leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to bring the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) back to the Senate floor. However, he is almost certain to lack the 60 votes needed for cloture — allowing the bill to come to the Senate floor for a vote — or even 50 votes to pass it. On Feb. 28,  Sen. Manchin (D-W. Va.) voted with the Republicans to block it.

In February, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is sometimes described as prof-life, voted to advance the bill with the rest of his Democratic colleagues. His office did not respond to a request to comment on whether he will vote that way again next week.

Casey’s stance on abortion issues has been fluid. Until recently, he said he supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks — a position in line with a majority of Americans according to Gallup polling. However, he also refused to block changes to Obamacare in 2010 to provide taxpayer-funded elective abortions.

“Casey’s voting record in Congress aligns significantly with abortion-rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He has voted along with Planned Parenthood 75 percent of the time since 2011,” Politico reported in 2018. “And he voted with NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent of the time in 2016 and 2017.”

Supporting the WHPA, however, is a new level of pro-abortion politics.

According to an analysis by John McCormack who covers abortion legislation for the conservative National Review magazine, the WHPA creates a federal right to abortion through nine months of pregnancy in all 50 states; overrides nearly all state abortion laws, including parental-consent laws like Pennsylvania’s; weakens “conscience exemptions” to keep healthcare workers from being forced to participate in abortion procedures that violate their religious beliefs; and creates a right for non-doctors to perform abortions.

“WHPA will essentially legalize abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy and undo every state law that has protected children in the womb,” according to the group Democrats for Life America.

While most Americans say they oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, polls consistently show fewer than 20 percent of Americans support unlimited abortion up to the day of birth. However, that is exactly the position every Democrat in the Delaware Valley’s congressional delegation took when they voted to pass the WHPA last fall.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) tweeted after voting for the bill, “The Women’s Health Protection Act will: Codify Roe v. Wade. Create federal protection against state laws that restrict women’s health. Prohibit unwarranted restrictions that single out abortion services or providers. Beyond proud to serve in this House that passed #WHPA.”

“Like many of you, I was outraged by the leaked draft opinion of the Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade – and what this extreme Supreme Court may do to our country,” Dean said in an email.  “Predicting this, in September, the House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade. Since then, it’s been stalled in the Senate because of the filibuster.

Rep. Madeleine Dean with abortion protesters at Independence Hall.

“It’s time the Senate carve out a filibuster exception to pass WHPA, as they’ve recently done with our debt ceiling,” she said. “Women must remain free to fulfill their right to privacy, legal and safe abortion, contraceptives, and full healthcare treatment.”

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware County/Philadelphia) tweeted after the SCOTUS  leak earlier this week, “Women were called hysterical for sounding the alarm about abortion rights. We were told Roe and Casey were settled law. This leaked opinion shows we were right to be terrified. The Senate must move NOW to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

And Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Berks/Chester) said this on her campaign website, “A woman’s health care decisions should be made between her, her doctor, and her faith – not politicians. I am very concerned by state-level laws that inject politics into that decision, as well as the dangerous Supreme Court challenges to Roe v. Wade. That’s why I am taking action by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act, standing against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and working to improve maternal health care access through the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act.”

Abortion is also on the table in the state legislature. State Senate Republicans are putting forward a bill that would add a constitutional amendment to maintain the status quo of no right to or funding for an abortion.

“Federal courts have long held that the federal constitution does not require taxpayer funding of abortion. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in 1985 that the state constitution also does not require such taxpayer funding,” said state Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair/Cumberland/Franklin/Fulton/Hunterdon).

“If approved, Senate Bill  956 will prevent taxpayer dollars from funding elective terminations and will preserve the authority of elected officials – not the judicial branch – to enact future abortion laws.

“To no one’s surprise, this issue has elicited consternation from abortion rights activists who wield passionate and misleading rhetoric to convince the masses that my bill will lead to widespread bans. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Ward said.

“Currently, Medicaid covers both non-elective abortions and voluntary abortions involving cases of rape or incest but still withholds funding for elective abortions,” Ward added.  “If the state constitutional amendment is approved by the voters, this won’t change. The Abortion Control Act will remain the law, as well. The language does not ban abortions, but rather ensures that abortion policy in Pennsylvania comes from the people’s elected representatives.”

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DelVal Representatives Tout Money to Fix Area Bridges

Many Pennsylvania bridges—including some in the Delaware Valley–need to be rebuilt or repaired. And federal money toward those repairs will be forthcoming as part of the recent $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill that all area congressional representatives voted for and President Joe Biden signed into law.

In fiscal year 2022 the state will receive more than $327 million in federal funding for bridge work, Congresswomen Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) and Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) announced at a recent Zoom press conference.  The money is part of the $1.6 billion that Pennsylvania will receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan

“Anyone who has ever driven around the Greater Lehigh Valley can attest to the urgent need for this bipartisan law to start improving the roads and bridges that our community uses every day,” said Wild. “This funding will fundamentally improve the health and safety of our community, and I couldn’t be prouder to have helped make it happen.

Houlahan said, “Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation for the number of bridges in poor condition (3,353 to be exact). So to say we will benefit from the newly announced Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding is an understatement, especially after the flooding and destruction we experienced as a result of Hurricane Ida, our municipal leaders and union crews are ready to rebuild. This investment will benefit our entire Commonwealth, and it was one of the proudest votes of my career to help get this across the finish line.”


U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick speaking.

When asked to comment, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), one of only 13 House Republicans who voted for the bill, said, “The bipartisan, physical infrastructure bill is a victory for not only the people of Pennsylvania, but for the entire country. For far too long, the federal government has created the crisis of deteriorating roads and defunct bridges, in desperate need of repair.

“I am happy to see that the Department of Transportation has begun to implement the bipartisan physical infrastructure package and that Pennsylvania will receive $327,178,593 in Fiscal Year 2022 through the Bridge Formula Program for bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preservation, protection, and construction throughout the commonwealth. Pennsylvania will be allocated $1,635,892,965 in bridge funding over 5-years, and I look forward to working with PennDOT and our local communities on full implementation of these critical infrastructure investments,” Fitzpatrick said.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware Co.) is also stoked about the bridges.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon

“Bridges are vital to our infrastructure — critical to our daily commutes, emergency vehicles, and the trucks that make deliveries to our stores and homes,” said Scanlon. “Here in Pennsylvania, we have thousands of bridges in poor condition that threaten to divide our communities if not addressed. The funding provided by this legislation will help accelerate long-overdue bridge projects across PA-05 and the commonwealth.

“I am excited about what it means for our community to have the opportunity to address projects like replacing the bridges on Wanamaker Avenue over Darby Creek or addressing noise abatement along I-95. The projects funded through this legislation will create good-paying jobs, pave the way for decades of economic growth and prosperity, and better position the United States for success within an increasingly competitive global economy,” she said.

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) did not respond to a request for comment, although she also voted for the bill.  However, area planning commissioners and PennDOT have projects waiting in the wings for the promised funds.

Nationwide, the Bridge Formula Program is expected to help repair approximately 15,000 bridges. In addition to providing funds to states to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, protect, and construct highway bridges, the Bridge Formula Program has dedicated funding for Tribal transportation facility bridges as well as “off-system” bridges, locally-owned facilities which are those not on the federal-aid highway system, officials said.

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FLOWERS: Scanlon Gets A Street Level View of Her Soft-On-Crime Politics

No one should take joy in the misfortune of others. That is a tenet of many of the world’s great religions, including my own. “Do Unto Others.” “My Brother’s Keeper.” “What Would Jesus Do?”

But it’s unreasonable to expect human beings, imperfect as we are, to be completely impervious to the irony that fate serves up when someone who worked so hard against efforts to protect the public from crime finds herself keyless, carless, and alone on a South Philly sidewalk.

I’m talking about U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who was the victim of a carjacking less than a mile from my office. It happened in broad daylight, after she’d participated in a meeting with constituents (her district includes a Democrat-friendly gerrymandered sliver of the city).

As she was walking back to her car at FDR Park, armed men approached her, stole her keys, and made off with her car. Her personal possessions were in it, including a cellphone and laptop. The police were mobilized and due to their usual exceptional efforts, the congresswoman’s car was retrieved in Delaware a few hours later.

Though I disagree with her politics, I’m happy Rep. Scanlon was unharmed. No decent person, however partisan, wishes harm on a fellow human being — a cultural norm Democrats largely abandoned during the Trump presidency, alas.

But there is a kernel of truth in the suggestion that perhaps those quick to embrace the BLM “defund the police” rhetoric should not be surprised when the harsh realities of the street hit them right in the keyring. As she watched the crooks abscond with her Acura, you have to wonder if she didn’t sense the irony as well.

Scanlon was a regular at Black Lives Matter rallies across the region, marching alongside posters that labeled law enforcement as racist. Consider that just a few months ago, when the streets filled with protestors after the death of George Floyd, Scanlon tweeted the following from her official congressional account:

“We have seen too many lives taken and too many communities devastated by police brutality and racial profiling. Action is long overdue. @HouseDemocrats are fighting for REAL reform in our country’s policing departments.  #JusticeInPolicing.”

From Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s Facebook page, a BLM rally she attended in Collingdale, Pa.

This is the typical passive-aggressive tweet of someone who isn’t explicitly calling the police racist, but who is pretty much following the script of “Police Bad, Communities of Color Sad.”  It’s neither original, nor particularly incendiary, which is the usual modus operandi of Scanlon, my congresswoman.

This tweet is a reminder of the mindset that so many Democrats, even the more moderate and low-key ones, have with respect to criminal justice.  There are pictures of Mary Gay smiling alongside DA Larry Krasner, who has presided over nearly 600 deaths in one calendar year in the city of Philadelphia. I’m not entirely certain, but it’s a good bet that at least 90 percent of those deaths were of people of color, and an even higher percentage involved civilians killing other civilians.

The “police brutality and racial profiling” trope pushed by Scanlon’s progressive allies offers no comfort to the grieving families at our local funeral homes.

The congresswoman made sure to thank the police who assisted her in the aftermath of the ordeal, which was the least that she could do. I doubt that any of those police officers wanted — or expected — a thank you. I also doubt that any of them checked her voting record or her rhetoric before rushing to her aid in South Philadelphia.  They did their job, a job made infinitely more difficult by people like Mary Gay Scanlon, Larry Krasner, Jim Kenney, and the loudmouths on Philadelphia City Council who have an inbred, innate animus toward policing in general, and certain police officers in particular.

The phrase “defund the police” turned out to be a huge mistake for Democrats. Now they’re trying to pivot to an explanation that what they “really” meant was a redistribution of resources to social workers, educators, homeless advocates, etc.

In the end, it adds up to the same things: Fewer cops, more crime, less security, more victims.

I wonder how Rep. Scanlon would have felt if a, instead of a cop, a social worker had rushed to her side at FDR Park? Or if a homeless advocate had been sent to search for her car, or a diversity instructor was tracking her assailants?  I suppose we’ll never know.

But of course, we do.

DelVal Dems Have Holiday Season Headache as Inflation Hits 39-Year High

Delaware Valley Democrats, some already facing a tough electoral environment next year, got hit with more bad news Friday: Inflation reached a 39-year high, and voters believe the federal spending in Washington is part of the problem.

Friday morning, the Labor Department reported the consumer-price index jumped to its highest rate in 39 years, rising to 6.8 percent in November. It is the sixth consecutive month inflation was higher than 5 percent. That is a blow to Democrats like U.S. Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Madeleine Dean, who voted for trillions in new federal spending and likely face serious challenges in the 2022 midterms.

Hours later, a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending plan found the bill would add $2.8 trillion more to the national debt than originally projected. Despite claims by President Joe Biden and Dean that the CBO found the BBB spending plan is “fully paid for,” the agency has always said the proposal will add between $160 billion and $367 billion to the deficit.

“This holiday season Pennsylvania families are having to empty their wallets for gas, groceries, and gifts—and some of them can’t afford all three. Prices have skyrocketed to a 39-year high and consumer prices in the Northeast are up a costly 6 percent,” said Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas. “Next November, Pennsylvania Democrats will be held responsible for Joe Biden’s reckless policies, which are hurting Main Street businesses, eating up workers’ gains, and crippling our economy.”

The cost of a frozen turkey for this past Thanksgiving was up 20 percent from last year, and the entire meal cost the average family 10 percent more.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said, “Today’s jaw-dropping inflation report should alarm every single American, but especially policymakers. Hardworking American families are suffering as a direct result of the Biden administration’s reckless borrowing and spending and anti-energy policies. If the message wasn’t clear enough before, it’s crystal clear now. Democrats should immediately halt plans to advance their nearly $5 trillion spending spree and the Fed should quickly normalize monetary policy before it falls further behind the curve.”

Guy Ciarrocchi, a Republican running for governor who is on leave from his job as president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said, “Inflation is the cruelest of all taxes. It eats away at a family’s savings each week, each month. The good news is that bad government policies created this; so good policies can fix it. Step one and two: Time for almost everyone to get back to work and let’s get Pennsylvania energy out of the ground.”

Some Democrats are pushing back and claiming costs are actually going down in December and contending their policies are working so the Christmas ham won’t be as pricey as the Thanksgiving gobbler.

“As we head into the holiday season, I recognize that the pressure of increased costs is weighing heavily on many Americans,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware Co.). “My colleagues and I are working hand-in-hand with the Biden administration to get people back to work, address supply chain issues, and lower prices — and there is good news on those fronts.

“Americans, on average, have about $100 more in their pockets each month than they did last year, even after adjusting for inflation, thanks to rising wages and the Child Tax Credit passed as part of the American Rescue Plan,” said Scanlon. “In December, costs have also been falling for gas, used cars, and other goods that are driving inflation; these changes aren’t reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index report. I know the past several months have been tough, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

But consumers and business owners are holding onto their wallets as polls consistently show voters believe federal spending is making inflation worse, not better.

Maryann Brown, a pharmacist living in Warminster, said gas prices are down a bit, but other items are up.

“Grocery prices are high so I shop at Aldi or a grocery outlet,” said Brown. “Electricity is going up so I turn off all unused lights. Stamps are up, so I’m sending out fewer cards this year. I use coupons like at Old Navy or Kohl’s ‘cash’ since the prices are up.”

Wendy Klinghoffer, executive director of the Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, said, “Obviously, it’s a major issue because the cost of goods and services went up for both purchasing as well as personnel.”

“For small businesses in particular, this is problematic,” said Klinghoffer. While business owners are reluctant to pass costs along to consumers “at some point they have to in order to stay in business. They have to recoup their costs.”

Meanwhile, the restaurant sector was particularly hard hit during the pandemic shutdowns and is still struggling with food and wages now increasing due to inflation, she said.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr noted inflation is the highest since 1982.

“Our economy is already overwhelmed with supply-chain issues, a workforce shortage, and an increase in consumer demand, particularly during the holiday season,” Barr said. “A high inflation rate hampers economic recovery and can be particularly painful on small businesses as they are less able to withstand challenges to their financial goals. As products and services get more expensive, there is no doubt that consumption will continue to fall.”

Barr called on Congress to drop the pending tax and reconciliation bill that would add “another $150 billion in transfer payments and tax cuts, plus additional spending will be a recipe for disaster for more inflation over the next year. We must continue to prioritize rebuilding our economy, and this bill is a roadblock to long-term economic recovery.”


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