Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Friday, August 15, 2014, 11:50 AM

WASHINGTON — Democrats hit hard in their first TV ad of the general election, one targeted to a South Jersey district now represented by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.).

According to Tom MacArthur, the Republican who is running to replace Runyan, Democrats also hit low — and dirty.

The ad, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is backing Belgard, began running on cable TV in the district Tuesday. (It can be seen below).

POSTED: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 11:08 AM

WASHINGTON – National Democrats have targeted South Jersey for one of their first ads of the fall House campaigns, underscoring how a suburban Philadelphia district has become a key battleground, one of the few where they may have a chance to pick off a Republican-held seat.

Democrats see opportunity in the Burlington and Ocean county-district where U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.) is retiring, leaving a contest between Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, a Democrat, and Republican Tom MacArthur, a former mayor in North Jersey and ex-insurance executive.

The Democrats’ ad attacks MacArthur for lawsuits against his former company, York Risk Services Group, in which the insurance adjustment firm was accused of short-changing policy holders after wildfires and hurricanes.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 3:17 PM

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Republicans don’t know Jeff Bell – but they like him.

Or maybe they just don’t like Democrat Cory Booker.

Bell won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in a quiet primary back in June, and is still little known even among partisans – 68 percent of Republicans (and 77 percent of all voters) don’t know enough about him to form an opinion, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out today. But Republicans still support him by 84-9, the poll found. 

POSTED: Monday, August 4, 2014, 1:10 PM

WASHINGTON – A bill to fund autism research and help young autistic people as they move into adulthood has cleared both chambers of Congress with backing from New Jersey’s U.S. Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Robert Menendez.

The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent late Thursday after clearing the House by a voice vote in late June. In parts of New Jersey, 1 in 45 children have been identified with autism, most among areas studied in 11 states, according to a March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall rate among 8-year-olds living in the communities studied was 1 in 68.

“By passing this legislation, Congress assures individuals with autism and their families that they will not be left behind, and that we are working to assist and empower them,” Smith, a Republican, said in a news release.

POSTED: Friday, August 1, 2014, 9:50 PM

WASHINGTON – Philadelphia-area Republicans joined most of the rest of their GOP colleagues to help pass a bill Friday night aimed at addressing the crisis along the southern border, though the plan stands no chance of becoming law.

They also supported a plan to curtail a program aimed at protecting illegal immigrants who live in the U.S. after being brought here as children -- a bill that brought about an emotionally charged debate and that could have long-term political implications for the GOP as the party tries to appeal to a broader swath of voters.

Pennsylvania U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan, and South Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo, Jon Runyan and Chris Smith, all supported both measures, including a revised GOP border plan that would provide $659 million for the Obama administration to deal with the tens of thousands of unaccompanied young migrants who have come to the border from Central America.

POSTED: Thursday, July 31, 2014, 5:45 PM
File photo: Republican Jon Runyan accepts his reelection to Congress from South Jersey, with his family at the Westin in Mount Laurel. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON -- For Jon Runyan, days like Thursday are exactly why he's leaving Congress after just two terms.

Once again, the South Jersey Republican saw a House vote on a critical issue scuttled by GOP infighting. House conservatives on Thursday morning rebelled against Republican leadership as the GOP tried to pass a measure aimed at addressing the crisis of thousands of undocumented children who have come from Central America to the southern border. The latest insurrection left the GOP facing the politically perilous prospect of leaving Washington for a five-week recess without taking any action on an issue that has been at the national forefront for weeks.

"The unfortunate part and why I’m leaving this place is because we always wait until the last minute to solve it," Runyan said after a hastily-called meeting of House Republicans. "We saw the train come over the horizon two weeks ago, two months ago. Now we’re standing here in front of it, still on the rail."

POSTED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 7:00 PM
President Barack Obama speaks about the economy, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

WASHINGTON – Philadelphia-area Republicans voted Wednesday to support a measure authorizing House Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama for overstepping his authority.

U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan – of Pennsylvania – and South Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo, Jon Runyan and Chris Smith all supported the bill, which passed a sharply divided House in a 225-201 vote. No Democrats voted for the bill. Five conservative Republicans opposed it – likely because they didn’t think the suit went far enough.

Fitzpatrick, of Bucks County, referred to law professor Jonathan Turley, who has criticized Obama for overreaching.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 1:13 PM

WASHINGTON – Cory Booker and Rand Paul took their buddy-movie-style alliance and push for criminal sentencing reforms to Twitter and PBS’ NewsHour Tuesday, highlighting the serious and not-so-serious side of their high-profile cooperation.

The two famous Senators, one a bald Democrat from Newark and the other a curly-haired Republican from Bowling Green, Ky., began the day poking fun at one another on Twitter for each making The Hill’s annual list of Washington’s 50 most beautiful people. (Booker tweeted that they were “late pity adds.”)

Later, they pushed their bipartisan case for changing criminal sentencing laws to help people get back to work and receive federal benefits after leaving jail. (And they're set to do it again Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC).

About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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