Monday, August 31, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 12:43 PM
Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak

WASHINGTON – Democrats Joe Sestak and Katie McGinty fare about equally in potential match ups against Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, though the Republican incumbent holds a double-digit advantage over them both, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday.

The survey, the first since McGinty announced her candidacy in early August, shows Toomey leading Sestak 48-33 in a potential match up and ahead of McGinty 48-32.

The poll, more than a year before Election Day, provides an early snapshot of a race expected to be critical to deciding control of the Senate.

POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 4:29 PM
Rick Santorum at an event in Cabot, Pa., on May 27, 2015. (REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

WASHINGTON – Stepping into the Republican fray on immigration, Rick Santorum called Thursday for ending so-called “birthright citizenship,” cutting back legal immigration by 25 percent and deporting immigrants illegally living in the U.S.

“No one, no one, is above the law in America – that includes presidents, justices, and yes, immigrants,” the former Pennsylvania Senator said in a speech to reporters at the National Press Club.

Asked about splitting up undocumented parents from children who are citizens, Santorum said parents who come to the country illegally are responsible for that outcome.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 2:03 PM
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. (REUTERS / Mike Theiler)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) said Tuesday he will vote against the pending nuclear deal with Iran, and will vote to override a presidential veto if needed to help kill the deal, striking a firm -- though unsurprising -- stand against one of President Obama's top priorities.

Menendez, speaking at Seton Hall University in South Orange, said, "if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it."

The former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez said the final deal with Iran fell far short of the goals set out at the beginning of negotiations, and will leave the country close to developing a nuclear weapon while lifting punishing sanctions.

POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2015, 8:51 AM
Congressman Chaka Fattah was charged with a 29-count indictment by federal investigators. (MICHAEL PRONZATO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Chaka Fattah fired back at federal prosecutors Monday, saying the officials who have brought racketeering charges against him used "unconstitutional and unlawful" threats and questionable motives to build their case.

In particular, Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat, ripped Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Gray, writing in a letter that Gray had told officers of the court that “earmarks were corrupt" and that Fattah was “guilty of something."

"This approach is one that is most strikingly consistent with (Department of Justice) misdeeds in multiple recent cases targeting Members of Congress," Fattah wrote in a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 3:58 PM
With his family by his side, Patrick Murphy, a former Bucks County congressman, concedes his race for the state attorney general Democratic nomination in 2012 at the Philadelphia FOP. (STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

WASHINGTON – President Obama has nominated former Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy to become undersecretary of the Army, the branch’s second-highest ranking civilian position, the White House announced Wednesday.

Murphy, who represented Pennsylvania’s eighth district from 2007 to 2011, was the first veteran of the second Iraq war to be elected to Congress, where he sat on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Trained as a paratrooper with the Army’s 82nd airborne division, Murphy spent seven months in Iraq, starting in 2003, where he served as a convoy commander and lawyer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. He earned a Bronze Star for service. He also deployed to Bosnia in 2002.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 2:29 PM
Kathleen McGinty speaks at a public forum May 12, 2014. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

WASHINGTON – It’s official: Democrats have a primary in Pennsylvania’s critical U.S. Senate race.

Katie McGinty, former chief of staff to Gov. Wolf, jumped into the campaign Tuesday in a move that changes the political outlook for the nine or so months leading up to next year’s Democratic primary. She’ll face a big challenge in trying to top former Delaware County Congressman Joe Sestak as they vie to take on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Here are five key factors in the contest, as described by operatives, insiders and analysts from both parties in recent weeks – including one wild card in the race and why the Democratic primary might not actually be the most important one to watch.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 10:04 AM
Katie McGinty left her post in Gov. Wolf’s cabinet in July. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON – Democrat Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff for Gov. Wolf, announced her campaign for Senate Tuesday, entering a Pennsylvania Democratic primary against former Congressman Joe Sestak and taking aim at the Republican incumbent, Sen. Pat Toomey.

McGinty, who had been expected to enter the race since recently resigning her position with Wolf, made her announcement in a web video and press release, pledging to help middle-class Pennsylvanians and touting her blue-collar back story as the daughter of a Philadelphia police officer and restaurant hostess.

“I am running for Senate to stand up for middle class and hard-working families who deserve a shot at the American Dream,” said McGinty, a Wayne resident.

POSTED: Monday, August 3, 2015, 6:54 PM

WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee is planning to open its own investigation into the allegations surrounding Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).

The panel announced Monday that it has voted to create an investigative subcommittee to examine whether he violated the House code of conduct or other rules in the actions described in the 85-page racketeering and conspiracy indictment released last week.

Under House rules, investigative panels look into allegations of wrongdoing. They can recommend reprimands or censures to the full committee.

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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