Saturday, February 28, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 10:53 AM

WASHINGTON – Invoking memories of 9/11, three Republicans from the Philadelphia suburbs urged their party Wednesday to avoid shutting down the Department of Homeland Security, saying doing so would be a dereliction of duty.

“I stood in the courtyard of the Pentagon and watched the smoke billow from the roof. I’ve stood in the ruins with my colleagues that were U.S. Attorneys at 9/11, and I think our highest and first responsibility is to protect the people of the United States from harm,” said U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.) 

The Delaware County Republican was sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on six days after 9/11. In an interview, he said he relayed images of the wreckage to his colleagues in a closed door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning, held as the GOP and President Obama are locked in a standoff over funding the department founded in the aftermath of those attacks. Without a resolution, the department would shut down Friday – though much of its personnel is considered “essential” and would continue working without pay.

POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 5:16 PM
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. (Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON – Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Thursday that running for U.S. Senate is “something you have to consider” as Democrats seek a nominee to take on U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) next year.

“Anytime people talk about that, it’s something you have to consider,” Williams said in a telephone interview. He stressed that he is focused on his job as district attorney, but as he tries to fight crime in the city, he said being a Senator might give him an even greater ability to make an impact by supporting things like early childhood education or after-school programs.

“That would really do a great job with helping us prevent crime,” Williams said.

POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2015, 11:52 AM
State Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia.

WASHINGTON – A Philly state senator is mulling a run for U.S. Senate against the Republican incumbent, Pat Toomey.

Democrat Vincent Hughes, a member of the state legislature since 1987, told Philadelphia Weekly that a run has "been on my mind; it’s something we think about every once in a while.” He later added, “We made a decision to hold onto that domain name in contemplation of that move—should we decide to make it.”

Hughes has registered domain names such as “Hughes4USSenate2016.com,” “HughesforSenate2016.com” and “HughesforUSSenate2016.com,” the web site PoliticsPA previously reported

POSTED: Thursday, February 12, 2015, 1:24 PM
The Philadelphia skyline is seen on April 25, 2014. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Hotels, money, Comcast executive David L. Cohen, and maybe some special treatment at the Liberty Bell all helped Philadelphia get over the top to win the right to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, city and party leaders said Thursday afternoon.

“The role of Philadelphia in shaping our nation’s history is unmatched,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee. “But what’s also unmatched is the comprehensive proposal” the city put together.

The three finalists to host the convention -- Philadephia, New York and Columbus, Ohio -- were judged on logistics, security and resources to host the gathering that Democrats hope will serve as an energizing springboard to the 2016 presidential race, Wasserman Schultz said on an afternoon conference call with reporters.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 4:05 PM
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON – Chester County Republican Ryan Costello has been in Congress for just over a month, but Democrats are already hoping to end his House career.

Democrats’ national congressional campaign arm on Wednesday named Costello to its list of “one-term wonders,” – 15 GOP freshmen that Democrats hope to oust in 2016.

"Democrats are on offense this cycle," said Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We will work tirelessly to highlight how out of step Congressman Costello and other 'One-Term Wonders' are with their constituents."

POSTED: Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 11:30 AM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) leads potential Democratic challenger Joe Sestak by 10 percentage points in a new Quinnipiac Poll examining what seems on track to be a re-match of their 2010 Senate race.

UPDATED: The poll, out Tuesday, found that Toomey has support from 45 percent of Pennsylvania voters against 35 percent for Sestak in a head-to-head match-up. Toomey is seeking re-election next year and so far Sestak is the only Democrat to show serious interest in challenging him -- though former Congressman Chris Carney has also said he may run.

Sestak, a former Delaware County Congressman, narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 4:46 PM
File: Cory Booker talks with the Inquirer's editorial board. (Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

WASHINGTON –Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) has long been seen as a 21-century political figure: he has his famous Twitter account, has chronicled meetings with fellow Senators on Instagram, and launched his first Senate campaign at the Newark headquarters of Audible.com, an Amazon affiliate that crates audio-books.

So Booker Wednesday called the FCC’s new Net neutrality rules “an extraordinary day for our democracy,” linking the proposal "one of the most critical principles for our country."

“It’s also this ideal that everyone’s voice matters, that we can have equal access, that whether you are marginalized, whether you are a minority, whether you are small in economic power, that you too can participate on a fair open playing field, where powerful economic forces cannot choke your voice or further marginalize your opinions," Booker said at a press conference alongside Sens. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), Al Franken (D., Minn.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

POSTED: Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 6:16 PM

WASHINGTON – It was a mostly familiar story in the House when it came to the Affordable Care Act Tuesday: Republicans voted overwhelmingly to repeal it while Democrats were equally firm in voting to preserve it.

But for four freshmen lawmakers from the Philadelphia area, it was their first chance to weigh in on the law, all while a Philadelphia woman went to the White House to help President Obama highlight the law’s benefits.

U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello (R., Pa.) and Tom MacArthur (R., N.J.) cast their first votes against the law (often derided as “Obamacare”) less than a month into their tenures in Congress. Both had expressed opposition to the law while campaigning last fall.

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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