The Update: What’s Important in Harrisburg and D.C. – Sept. 21, 2021




The pandemic is not over as a public health crisis and an economic crisis. Read below about ways that the federal and state governments can address what working people are facing and help to end these twin crises.

In Solidarity, 

Stephen Herzenberg
Executive Director

New Census Data on Poverty, Income, and Health Coverage Show Need for Robust Federal Recovery Package

The economic loss and hardship of COVID-19 and its new variants are far from over for Pennsylvania communities — particularly Pennsylvanians of color and those with low incomes. The need for strong public investments that grow the economy, protect families, and reduce racial and economic inequalities remain as critical today as they were a year ago.

Read more.

Advocates Rally for the Build Back Better Agenda and Taxing the Rich, Thanking U.S. Rep. Susan Wild for Her Strong Support for the Plan

The 99% Pennsylvania campaign hosted a rally in Allentown, co-sponsored by For Our Future PA, Protect Our Care, ReImagine Appalachia, and Tax March, which included projecting the messages “Build Back Better” and “Tax the Rich” onto the side of the PPL building at 9th & Hamilton Streets. Representatives of the co-sponsoring organizations and rally attendees raised their voices to clearly deliver the message, “Build Back Better! Tax the Rich!”

Congresswoman Susan Wild, who represents Allentown and the entire Lehigh Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives, was unable to attend, but she sent a statement of support, which was read aloud during the event:

“It is long past time to strengthen our economy by ensuring that everyone, including those at the very top, pays their fair share in taxes. Tax fairness isn’t just broadly popular among the American people, it would level the playing field for small business owners and help pay for much-needed investments into middle-class families, helping create jobs and strengthen our economic recovery. I am proud to fight for these needed reforms.”

Read more.

We The People – PA Statement on Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee Actions

Pennsylvania Senate Republicans are unwilling to address the problems of working people while small businesses and families all over the Commonwealth are still suffering from the effects of a COVID-19 pandemic that has recently become more serious due to the Delta variant of the virus. They have no plans to spend the $7.5 billion of our tax dollars in state bank accounts to help citizens, yet they do have time to continue to spread Donald Trump’s lies and misstatements about the 2020 election under the guise of conducting an utterly unnecessary and duplicative “forensic audit” of it.

The latest example of this effort was a decision today, on a 7-4 party-line vote, to issue subpoenas to secure more information about which Pennsylvanians voted and how they voted in recent elections. This, even though the chair of the committee, Senator Dush, was unable to satisfactorily answer questions about how the information collected in this fishing expedition will be used, who will have access to it, and how the personal information—including driver’s licenses and social security numbers—of Pennsylvania voters will be protected.

Read more.

A Big Civilian Conservation Corps is Vital for the Economy and Appalachia

Momentum is growing for creating a 21st-century civilian conservation corps (CCC) that would reduce carbon emissions, grow jobs, and restore our natural resources and environment. At least seven bills have been introduced in Congress this year to revive the CCC. More than 80 members of Congress are pushing for the inclusion of a new CCC in the budget reconciliation package moving quickly towards a vote, and several House committees have included funding for a CCC in their markups of bills in the budget reconciliation process.

Read more on the ReImagine Appalachia blog.

For additional detail read the co-branded policy brief from ReImagine Appalachia, Keystone Research Center, and Ohio River Valley Institute.

And, check out the Twitter chat to #REVIVEtheCCC with #ReImagineAppalachia. Feel free to retweet!

In the News

Memo: Voters in 12 Key States Support the Build Back Better Agenda
Data for Progress

Read more about the key findings.

New Census Data on Poverty, Income, and Health Coverage Show Need for Robust Federal Recovery Package
GIS User

“Despite these important strides in alleviating pandemic-related economic challenges for Pennsylvania families, more federal action is needed to tackle long-standing economic hardship and inequity that predated COVID-19.

‘Pennsylvanians are not out of the dark yet. Families here continue to face difficult choices about how to put food on the table, pay rent, and hold down jobs given the risks and complexities created by the delta variant,’ said Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. ‘Our federal and state policymakers cannot turn a blind eye to this continued hardship, especially in Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant communities.’”

PBPC 99% PA Campaign advocates for PA Congressional delegate to support Build Back Better, which voters overwhelmingly support

“Jeff Garis, a leader of the effort in Fitzpatrick’s district in Pennsylvania, told CNBC on Monday that, they will be gathering on Wednesday in Bucks County to ‘try to lift the message there, educate folks to call on Congressman Fitzpatrick to support the things that are part of the Build Back Better plan.’”