Philadelphia, PA – On Wednesday, February 6th, the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter attended “Chamber Day”, an annual event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia in Washington, D.C. providing regional business leaders with the opportunity to directly interact with many Members of Congress representing the Philadelphia Area.
The day started with a trip from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to Washington’s Union Station during which the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter was introduced to several Philadelphia-area business leaders. Upon arrival in Washington, D.C., attendees made their way to the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Here, the networking continued until the first participating Member of Congress arrived.
Participating Members included Senators Tom Carper, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey; Congressmen Dwight Evans, Brian Fitzpatrick, Brendan Boyle, Donald Norcross, and Lloyd Smucker; and Congresswomen Chrissy Houlahan, Madeleine Dean, and Mary Gay Scanlon. Several Congressional Staffers also participated. During their allotted time, each Member introduced themselves and provided updates on their highest-priority legislative issues. After each speech, attendees were given the opportunity to directly ask questions of the Members.
The Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter received plenty of direct attention from the Members and their staff during the event. Throughout the day, Chapter Government Affairs Coordinator Aaron Kelley asked the participating speakers several questions relevant to NECA Members:
First, Philadelphia Congressman Dwight Evans (D) was asked about current efforts by House Democrats to craft and propose a comprehensive infrastructure bill. In response, Congressman Evans stated that members of the Democratic Party are in agreement that the United States has fallen behind in infrastructure quality and that putting a bill to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure before President Trump should be a top priority. This sentiment was echoed by other Democratic Members throughout the rest of the Day.
Later, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R) of Bucks County, Pennsylvania was asked whether Texas Congressman Will Hurd’s idea of installing a fiber-optic cable system along the southern border, establishing a virtual surveillance barrier while simultaneously providing high speed Internet connectivity to border residents, was actually being considered by House Republicans as an alternative to President Trump’s border wall proposal. In response, Congressman Fitzpatrick stated that this innovative solution to border security, along with many other high-tech solutions, are indeed being seriously considered. He also remarked that proposals by Representatives from the border, such as Congressman Hurd, are very deserving of consideration since these Members are those whose constituents experience the effects of border security measures every single day.
Finally, a representative from Senator Bob Casey’s office was asked about the future of Multiemployer Pension Reform. The staff member responded that, while the Senator is very interested in finding a real solution (including one needing substantial Federal funding), there does not seem to be any consensus on the issue. He then stated that this is extremely unfortunate because nothing will be accomplished unless both sides of the aisle agree to work together on this complex issue.
In addition to asking the questions above, the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter had the opportunity to meet privately for a short time with both Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross. Both were very glad to speak with the Chapter and thanked it for participating in the day’s events.