Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 1:33 PM
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) (Photo by Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) on Wednesday blasted the Vermont college planning to use a taped commencement speech Sunday from convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

“It’s despicable and appalling that a college would want to offer this platform to an unrepentant cop killer,” Toomey said on the Dom Giordano radio show on WPHT. “What have we come to when we think that there’s a college in America that thinks this is a guy that should be addressing their student body?”

Toomey took on another battle involving Abu-Jamal earlier this year when he led the fight to reject an Obama administration nominee who had worked on the killer’s death sentence appeal. The nominee to lead the civil rights department, Debo Adegbile, was blocked by the Senate in March and formally withdrew in September.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 5:52 PM

WASHINGTON – National Democrats on Tuesday pulled down a controversial ad that tied a South Jersey congressional candidate to actions his former company took a year or more after he had left it.

The ad, launched Sunday, rebuked GOP candidate Tom MacArthur over how his former insurance servicing firm, York Risk Services, handled the claims of Phoenix firefighters injured on the job. Eight of them have sued York over insurance denials.

But MacArthur had sold the company and left it entirely in 2010 – nearly a year before York became involved with the firefighters. The MacArthur campaign had threatened a lawsuit over the ad, which had run on cable stations in the Burlington and Ocean County district.

POSTED: Monday, September 22, 2014, 3:47 PM

WASHINGTON – Democrats’ latest attack on a South Jersey Republican congressional candidate takes him to task for a legal entanglement involving his former firm but that he had no role in – prompting a threat of a lawsuit Monday and a demand that the ad be pulled off the airwaves.

The dispute hinges on a television ad the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running on cable Sunday hammering Tom MacArthur, the Republican nominee in a surprisingly close House race against Democrat Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County Freeholder. They  as they compete to replace the retiring U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.). On Monday MacArthur’s attorneys wrote to Comcast urging them to pull the ad. In a statement, MacArthur called it “a reckless and despicable smear with absolutely no basis in truth.”

MacArthur spokesman Chris Russell added in an interview Monday, “if this ad doesn’t come down by the end of the day, there’s going to be a lawsuit.”

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 7:20 PM
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) (Photo by Mark Wilson (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – All four Senators from Pennsylvania and New Jersey voted Thursday to give President Obama authorization to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, though some expressed serious concerns about his plan and another Middle East entanglement.

Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) all backed the plan, which was approved 78-22.

Democratic and Republican House members from the Philadelphia region also supported the proposal in a vote Wednesday, providing Obama the authority to advance his plan to take on the group, often called ISIS, in part by training opposition fighters in the volatile region as the U.S. continues air strikes.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 6:59 PM

WASHINGTON – A national gun control group hoping to counter the influence of the NRA has chosen a Bucks County race for its first television ad supporting a Republican Congressional candidate.

The group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, will begin airing an ad Thursday praising U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), for his support last year for a plan to expand background checks to cover nearly all gun purchases.

“Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick isn’t afraid to lead,” says the 30-second ad. “He’s working with Democrats and Republicans to keep us safe from gun violence.” (The spot is below).


POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 3:23 PM

WASHINGTON – In the waning days before lawmakers leave Washington, the House got something done Tuesday behind an effort led by U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), of Bucks County.

What exactly they accomplished, though, likely depends on where you sit on the political spectrum and your level of skepticism as election day nears.

To Fitzpatrick and, presumably, the 319 Republicans and Democrats who voted with him on the “Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act” Tuesday night, the House was cutting through needless government regulations to help growing businesses keep expanding, and hiring.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 4:45 PM

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D. N.J.) called Tuesday for ending a tax exemption for professional sports leagues and spending the new revenue on domestic violence programs.

Booker’s proposal comes as domestic violence among National Football League players has dominated the national headlines and conversation, though it seems a longshot to passage, particularly with Congress on the verge of leaving Washington until after Election Day.

Booker’s office said the plan would raise $100 million over 10 years.

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 5:06 PM

WASHINGTON – The South Jersey race to replace U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R. N.J.) is dead even, according to a Stockton Polling Institute survey released Monday afternoon.

The poll found that Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur each have support from 42.2 percent of likely voters surveyed in the district. Another 12.8 percent were undecided and the rest said they would support someone else, no one, or refused to answer. The race is shaping up as the most competitive House contest in the Philadelphia region. Runyan is retiring.

“A congressional race this close will continue to draw national attention,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, which includes the polling institute. “The candidates will be fighting over a relatively small number of undecided voters from now to Election Day.”

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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