LEWISBURG — News that Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa. 9) voted against a spending bill elicited cheers Friday morning from members of two local chambers of commerce.
Meuser, in his first term, was represented at the Joint Legislative Breakfast by John Gower, deputy district director. Gower’s comment was based on an audience request to address Meuser’s vote against an appropriations measure the previous night.
“In a statement released earlier this morning (Meuser) said, ‘I could not vote for a bill that averts a shutdown but does not fund Congress’ core national security function of securing our citizens,’” read Gower, who continued. “It puts further immigration reform on the issues DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) or extended work visas for agriculture workers, for instance, in jeopardy. We cannot reform our immigration system until we have total control of our borders.”
The bill contained $1.4 billion in border security money, $4.3 billion less than what President Trump said was needed, but will likely be signed into law. Meuser’s first House floor address was in support of stringent border security.
Gower said the congressman would continue to look for partnerships with local businesses via Opportunity Zones, notably in Shamokin. Opportunity Zones offer tax incentives for business in lower income areas.
However, Gower added that some of the rules regarding zones from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 have not been laid out yet. Meuser would meet with the Treasury Department in the weeks ahead. Gower said meetings with residents and business owners would also be forthcoming.
Meuser’s assignments to the Education and Labor Committee, Veteran’s Affairs committee and the Budget Committee were mentioned. Gower said Meuser’s experience as state revenue secretary under Gov. Tom Corbett was a valuable item on his resume. Gower also noted Meuser came form a business background in the manufacture of mobility devices.
Gower was asked after the meeting what the congressman would say regarding the apparent scuttling of an Amazon Corp. plan for a business center from Long Island City, New York.
“We’d love to have them in the Ninth Congressional (District),” Gower said.
Tax breaks and incentives granted the corporation drew the ire of local government officials.
The Joint Legislative Breakfast, hosted by the Central Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, was held at Country Cupboard, Lewisburg. Sponsors included Bucknell Sports Properties and PPL Electric Utilities.
Mike Trudnak, general manager of Bucknell Sports Properties, said the multimedia rights holder for Bucknell Athletics noted branding opportunities were available via Bison sports teams. Tracy Whitter, PPL regional affairs director, played a video of PPL crews helping restore power in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. She also noted that 60-year old wooden utility poles near Milton were about to be replaced by more durable metallic poles.