As you read this beautiful tome, the U.S. government is careening toward a partial shutdown, as President Trump unexpectedly announced he would not sign a U.S. Senate-approved stopgap budget because it did not include border wall funding. Senators who had left town were absolutely thrilled to be summoned back to Washington to vote on a House-approved measure that has zero chance of passing in the Upper Chamber.
And along comes U.S. Congressman and Freedom Caucus Major Domo Mark Meadows, who had a message for federal employees who won’t be paid starting at midnight tonight: “You signed up for this.” Yup, it was right there in their employment handbook, Section 2. “In the event of a senseless political kamikaze mission, you are out of luck. Merry Christmas, suckers.”
President Trump, who famously announced just last week that he would be proud to shut down the government, is now blaming the Democrats. That sound you hear is Chuck Schumer giggling.
The on-again, off-again relationship between President Trump and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is on ice this week after the president announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria. Hey Lindsey, you do remember that the president campaigned on that issue, right? You should Google it instead of sub-Tweeting President Trump. Bring a knife to a gunfight lately?
The Trump administration also announced this week that it will, some way or another, severely restrict eligibility for SNAP benefits, despite the recently-signed farm bill declining to do so. Farmers are not going to enjoy this move.
Speaking of farmers, they have been smacked in their collective combines by the ongoing trade war with China. On the bright side, Pennsylvanian’s steel industry is doing quite well, thank you very much. Turns out not everyone wins in trade wars, much like Star Wars.
Gov. Tom Wolf drove the media and lawmakers temporarily insane this week as he announced that the state should take a long, hard look at how recreational marijuana legalization has worked in other states, and maybe – or maybe not – follow suit. Despite his decidedly lukewarm semi-endorsement, reaction was swift. It will either be the policy victory of the century or cause the Commonwealth to burn to the ground.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate members are introducing bills to protect some provisions of the Affordable Care Act, now that a Texas judge has thrown the entire federal law out the window. We assume they are doing so due to the fact that Obamacare repeal advocates haven’t the foggiest idea what comes next, which is comforting. Y’all caught the car, now what?
Despite the impressive strides the state has taken on improving the condition of roads and bridges since the passage of Act 89 in 2013, much work remains to be done, we learned this week. Our bridges clocked in with a D- grade, and 43 percent of our roads are deficient. Memo to incoming lawmakers: transportation infrastructure funding is going to be on your plate, come hell or high water, very soon.
Governor Wolf this week announced the Commonwealth has signed a compact with eight neighboring states with the goal of slashing car and truck carbon emissions significantly over the next decade. If this move triggers a shift to more hybrid and electric vehicles, we have an addendum to our previous memo to incoming lawmakers: electric car owners don’t pay the gas tax.
Last week, Pittsburgh elected officials announced they will begin work on gun safety legislation bright and early in 2019. In response, a group of Second Amendment supporters announced they will hold an open-carry rally in Pittsburgh to protest the move. Pittsburgh is used to peaceful rallies, so we assume both sides will retire to the Grant Street Tavern afterwards and knock back a few Iron City beers.
Governor Wolf this week untapped about $800,000 in grants for the craft brewing industry and the agricultural products they use. Because nothing goes with legalized weed like a nice Double IPA.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to California, where Monterey Bay Aquarium officials publicly apologized this week for their Twitter comments that, in their words, “fat-shamed” a sea otter. The sea otter fired back that she was, in fact, “big boned” and was well below what marine biologists consider obese. California, man. You keep on doing you.
That’s what passes for news around here as we anxiously await Santa and his reindeer, all of whom are in perfect shape and not at all fat. The entire team at Triad wishes you a happy holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous 2019!