Spending money becomes the main weapon of the Dems | News, Sports, Jobs

  Spending money becomes the main weapon of the Dems |  News, Sports, Jobs

Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon — who represents a politically divided region outside Pittsburgh — is using his support for the infrastructure bill to strike out at 2022 primary opponents.

Several political figures have jumped into the Democratic race to replace outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville. Aside from Lamb, none are in Congress — so none are in a position to vote for or against the infrastructure package.

But where does the infrastructure bill fit in?

Lamb’s statement instead appears to be an implicit attack on opponents branded as progressives, like Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia. With no fellow members of Congress to explicitly run against, Lamb’s comments have implicitly positioned him against the so-called “Squad” — the small group of left-wing House representatives who rankle centrist Democrats and Republicans.

Story Highlights

  • The fight over federal infrastructure spending has made its way to Pennsylvania’s Senate race, where support for the $1 trillion bill has become a cudgel in the Democratic primary.

  • “Unlike anyone else in this race, I’ve been vetted and tested, and you know what you get with me,” Lamb tweeted this week. “Unlike anyone else in this race, I actually voted for the infrastructure bill.”

President Joe Biden called for Congress to pass two bills, one to rebuild roads and transit systems and another to beef up social policies, including paid parental leave, universal preschool and funds for greener infrastructure.

The larger social bill, called the Build Back Better plan, was slashed amid negotiations with centrist Democrats, despite protest from progressives. The progressives insisted that both bills must pass simultaneously to ensure their support.

But last week, enough House Democrats and Republicans united to pass only the smaller infrastructure bill, against opposition from Squad members. Pennsylvania’s delegation voted mostly along party lines, although Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Middletown Township, crossed the aisle to vote for the bill. Despite promises that the larger social spending bill is still on its way, new delays have made the timing uncertain. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who voted against the lone bill, said “everyone should have seen that coming” when the two bills were decoupled.

With only the smaller bill in place and the larger bill’s future unknown, Lamb has staked his 2022 position against those who would ask for more. “If you want a senator who runs as a socialist, feeds the GOP attack ads, and didn’t help with infrastructure, I’M NOT YOUR GUY,” he tweeted last week, calling himself a “normal Democrat.”

Bills would change school elections

“Often, voters are confused when a school board candidate is nominated for more than one party on the ballot and eliminating their ability to cross-file will provide clarity to voters who use party registration as a voting cue,” she said. A similar bill passed the House in 2018 but never reached a Senate vote.

In a memo to colleagues this week, Rep. Marci Mustello, R-Butler, said she would propose a law that would ban board candidates from cross-filing under both major parties’ ballot lines. Mustello’s proposal would end the relatively common practice, instead requiring candidates to file under only one party. With a season of hard-fought school board elections now over, some state lawmakers are moving to change the way board members are elected and held accountable.