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Biden vows to block US Steel takeover, but can he?

Plus, wanted PA lawmaker votes by proxy.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Today: Presidential powers, in abstentia, ballot warning, Biden blitz, records ruling, and the savior of the Mahoning Drive-In.

President Joe Biden in Pittsburgh on Wednesday vowed to block the sale of U.S. Steel to a Japanese company, part of his attempt to use "trade policy to win over working-class voters" in a key swing state, the AP reports.

Former President Donald Trump has vowed the same amid pushback against the $14.1 billion deal from organized labor and lawmakers.

But the promise may be tough to keep, Axios reported last week:

"Biden's easiest path to blocking the deal would be to accept a recommendation that he do so from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), but ... CFIUS very rarely recommends that deals be prohibited, let alone one involving a geopolitical ally like Japan."

Axios says "that leaves antitrust" but cautions a Department of Justice probe into the proposed takeover is reportedly limited in scope, adding Biden's "best hope" may be a deal between steelworkers and the buyer.

Read more: Biden wants to win back blue-collar voters. These Trump-won districts may offer a path, via USA Today.

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"Rest assured, in short order, the state House will be taking appropriate, compassionate, and affirmative steps to address this matter without theater, partisanship, or delay."

A statement from Pa. House Democratic leadership on state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D. Philly), who had yet to turn himself in to authorities on Wednesday following warrant for his arrest; more coverage below


BROKEN PRIMARIES: Join us Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on Zoom for a Spotlight PA members-only event with Nick Troiano, author of The Primary Solution, a new book on how our partisan primaries are fueling the political divide in America and what we can do about it. Sponsored by Ballot PA.

Become a Spotlight PA member here and you'll be automatically registered for the event.
Toad spawn in a shallow puddle at Tyler Arboretum in Delaware County, via Don N. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
black toad eggs scattered across beige sand
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.PROXY VOTE: State Rep. Kevin Boyle cast official votes by proxy on Wednesday while wanted by Philadelphia police for allegedly violating a protection from abuse order. WHTM reports a "never before used committee" determined his proxy vote eligibility, with two Democrats voting yes and one Republican member voting no

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
CAST ASIDE: Washington County's Republican commissioners have decided not to count mail ballots submitted in envelopes that lack a signature or date, instead of notifying voters. Pennsylvania's chapter of the ACLU says they're misinterpreting a recent court ruling and silencing eligible voters, via WESA.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
AD BLITZ: Steelworker-turned-mayor of Washington, Pennsylvania, JoJo Burgess, is featured in a new Biden campaign ad showing across the state. The New York Times (paywall) reports the “mid-six figures” marketing blitz coincides with this week's presidential visits. Burgess was Jill Biden's State of the Union guest in 2022.
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
MAP CHECKS: PennLive (paywall) reports that more than two years after the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved new political boundaries here, two employees are still collecting a combined $184,000 in salary for cataloguing work meant to assist in future cycles, but some Republicans are dubious.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
OFFICIAL DISCLOSURE: Pennsylvania's Public Utility Commission must turn over inspection records for a natural gas company at the center of a federal probe into last year's fatal explosion at a West Reading chocolate factory, a judge has ruled. The AP says the agency has refused to turn over the records and cited infrastructure security protections
FINE UPHELD: The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a $5,000 fine against U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R., Pa.) for dodging metal detectors in the U.S. Capitol that were installed after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot there.

CANCELED CELEBRITY: 30 Rock and Weeds actor Maulik Pancholy has had his appearance at a Cumberland Valley middle school canceled by officials who took issue with his activism, PennLive reports.

IN MEMORIAM: Jeff Mattox, owner of Carbon County's Mahoning Drive-In, died this week due to complications from surgery, staff report. Mattox helped the vintage theater find a second life.

ON VIDEO: A Schuylkill County man is being hailed as a hero after reportedly climbing three stories to pull his neighbors from a house fire. Oscar Rivera told WFMZ, "the adrenaline came, and I just started jumping."

PRESIDENTIAL PICK: While Wawa celebrated its birthday in Harrisburg on Wednesday, announcing 40 new midstate stores, President Joe Biden was on the other side of the commonwealth eating Fryz with the enemy
Unscramble and send your answer to We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Yesterday's answer: Galactic

Congrats to our daily winners: Vicki U., Ted W., Jane R., John P., Cassandra N., Barbara F., Bob C., Richard A, Jon W., Connie and Rich G., Marty M., Stacy S., Eric F., Bruce B., Jody A., Elaine C., Julie K., Robert K., Nan S., Daniel M., Connie O., Don H., Joel S., Alan B., Daniel S., Judith D., Susan N., Elizabeth R., Rick W., Mary S., Mike H., Beth T., Karyl S., Perry H., Janet S., Kathy B., Leslie B., John A., Amelia M., Kimberly D., Beth H., James D., Malachy M., Mike Z., Stanley J., Rena Z., Laura L., John C., Ronnee G., Starr B., Tom M., Marie B., David W., Frederick H., Jeffrey F., Adrien M., Keith F., John H., Sharon B., Tish M., Sue L., and Wendy A. 
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