Sestak Announces Challenge to Toomey

Joe Sestak, the former congressman who beat then-U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary before losing the general election to Pat Toomey, announced Tuesday he’s taking another shot at the U.S. Senate seat.

The announcement came outside Independence Hall on Tuesday. After that, AP reports, Sestak began a very long walk. Read more »

Could Ed Rendell Take Pat Toomey’s Senate Seat?

It’s tough for us to see Ed Rendell in the Senate. The man is a chief — not somebody who would risk getting his voice drowned out by 99 others. He just seems bigger than that, somehow.

There’s only one reason to believe he would ever make the run, in fact: Because he could win.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests that Rendell — who has given no indication of desiring a Senate run — is actually the leading candidate for the Senate seat now held by Pat Toomey.

“Former two-term Governor Ed Rendell leads the pack of potential Democratic challengers, besting Toomey 44-41 in a hypothetical matchup. Rendell owns a substantial 17-point advantage with Independents, and leads with both men and women (+1 and +6, respectively),” PPP reports. “Should Rendell decide to enter the race, he would start with a decided name recognition advantage over Toomey, 85-63.” (See the full poll results below.)

Now it’s true Rendell thinks — or has said, at any rate, that Toomey is vulnerable. “I would love to be a Democrat running against an incumbent Republican senator in 2016,” Rendell told the Inquirer back in November. But you’ll note he didn’t say he wanted to be the Democrat making the run.

Besides, aren’t we all waiting for him to swoop in and run for mayor again?
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Senators Pat Toomey, Bob Casey Actually Vote Same Way on a Bill

Bipartisanship is here! Well, okay, for one recent bill. Both of Pennsylvania’s senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey, voted the same way on a bill. And it wasn’t a resolution honoring a sports team for winning a championship — that’s more of a House thing — it was an actual bill that’s going to cost money and help actual people!

Both Pennsylvania Senators voted yes to the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, which passed 93-3 in the Senate. Similar legislation is in the House. The bills are a response to the recent scandal involving the Veterans Administration, where systemic scheduling issues left many vets with incredibly long waits for treatment. Though they haven’t been linked to the delays, some vets have died waiting for treatment.

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Pat Toomey Helps Block Minimum Wage Bill

Philadelphia Weekly reports on Sen. Pat Toomey’s role in helping kill a raise in the minimum wage.

After doing so, Toomey, a senator from Pennsylvania, released a statement estimating that if the bill had been successful, “hundreds of thousands” of Americans would have lost their jobs.

“I do not support government policy that puts hundreds of thousands of people out of work,” Toomey said. Specifically, he estimated a loss of 118,000 Pennsylvania jobs.

The bill, which came six votes short of blocking a filibuster threat by Republicans, would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. It is currently at $7.25.

Pat Toomey Leads Fight Against Euro Cheese Claims

YourErie.com reports: 

U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) are working together to protect American dairy farmers and producers from an absurd European initiative that would change common names for cheeses Americans enjoy every day.

In a bipartisan letter signed by more than 50 of their Senate colleagues, Sens. Toomey and Schumer urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to fight European Union (EU) efforts to prohibit American dairy producers from using dozens of common cheese names. The EU claims that dairy products baring names such as asiago, feta, parmesan, and muenster are “geographical indicators” and can only be appropriately displayed on products made in certain areas of Europe.

If the United States were to be subjected to a ban of these traditional brand names for various cheeses consumers may be confused and American dairy farmers could suffer.

“Can you imagine going into a grocery store and cheddar and provolone are called something else?” said Sen. Toomey. “Generations of dairy farmers and producers have worked hard to cultivate a product and brand that resonates with consumers. Efforts by the EU to establish trade guidelines which would restrict branding are ridiculous and threaten Pennsylvania jobs. I urge the USDA and the USTR to fight back against any attempt by the EU to restrict the use of these familiar brand names.”

French fries, though, we’ll happily re-name.

PA Senator Pat Toomey “Hasn’t Given Any Thought” to Whether Hotels Should Be Able to Kick Out Gay People

Pat Toomey, Joe Manchin

Last year, PA Republican Senator Pat Toomey stood on the right side of history when he joined nine other GOP lawmakers in voting “yes” on ENDA, a bill that bans discrimination toward gays in the workplace. But for some reason he can’t make up his mind if LGBT discrimination is okay in other places. Check this out, from Salon:

Asked Thursday morning whether it should be legal for a hotel to turn away a couple because they’re gay, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told Salon, “I haven’t given that any thought.” Salon’s question was one of several asked by reporters as Toomey walked to his car following an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference. As Salon and other outlets attempted to ask follow-up questions, Toomey told the crowd, “Have a nice day. Take care.”

Come on, Mr. Toomey, the right side [of history] is the best side.

Toomey Cornered on Gay Discrimination Laws

In the wake of aborted attempts in Kansas and Arizona to pass “religious freedom” laws that would permit businesses to discriminate against gay customers, liberal online magazine Salon has been cornering prominent conservatives to get their views on the matter. Thursday, the magazine got to Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey.

Asked Thursday morning whether it should be legal for a hotel to turn away a couple because they’re gay, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told Salon, “I haven’t given that any thought.” Salon’s question was one of several asked by reporters as Toomey walked to his car following an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference. As Salon and other outlets attempted to ask follow-up questions, Toomey told the crowd, “Have a nice day. Take care.”

Read more »

Toomey, Casey to Vote Against Obama Nominee

PoliticsPA reports: “Senator Bob Casey declared that he intends to vote against President Obama’s choice to head the Civil Rights Division, potentially imperiling the nomination. Debo Adegbile, who worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund from 2001 to 2013, was nominated by the Obama Administration to serve in the Department of Justice and led the Civil Rights Division.”

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