Monday, March 30, 2015

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.

POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2015, 12:21 PM

WASHINGTON – Vice President Biden, speaking in Philadelphia Friday morning, said Democrats can't allow Republican to "steal" credit for the burgeoning recovery – and that his party must forcefully make the argument that their policies worked while the GOP's didn’t.

“The Republican party is going to try to claim this resurgence and they’re going to misrepresent that it was because of quote, policies that they supported,” Biden told House Democrats at the Society Hill Sheraton. “It’s a bunch of malarkey.”

But he said, “if we don’t speak up and reassert the case we made, it may stick politically. These guys are pretty good.”



POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2015, 8:17 PM
President Obama addresses members of the House Democratic caucus Jan. 29, 2015, during their three-day policy retreat in Society Hill. ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

Update: President Obama's motorcade has left the Society Hill Sheraton and is on its way back to Philadelphia International Airport.

President Obama, speaking to House Democrats in Society Hill Thursday night, urged Democrats to remain focused on helping the middle class, reiterating many of the same themes he hit in his State of the Union speech last week - while adding a dig at Republicans and a thinly-veiled swipe at Mitt Romney for imitating the Democratic concern with average Americans.

Obama’s nearly 20-minute address to his party colleagues here drew a sustained standing, universal ovation as he urged Democrats to not be defensive or afraid despite an Election Day drubbing in November.

POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:29 PM

President Obama has landed in Philadelphia and is on his way to the Society Hill Sheraton, where Thursday night he will give the keynote address to House Democrats who have gathered there for a strategy session.

Obama is expected to focus on his latest budget, in which he will call for reversing automatic spending cuts that took effect in 2013, and spending more on programs that would invest in manufacturing, rebuilding infrastructure and medical research. The White House has painted these plans as a way to end “arbitrary” cuts that harm the economy and military and invest in proposals that will aid the middle class.

Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter greeted Obama as he deplaned, but protesters opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline were waiting at the Sheraton. A bill to approve the plan won approval in the Senate Thursday, but Obama has vowed to veto the bill as he awaits further review. Opponents here were stationed behind a barricade. One had a sign reading: "Keep Tar Sands in the Ground."

POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2015, 11:58 AM
The cutting blade of a dredge is lifted for maintenance of the motor system on the Delaware, 1.5 miles east of Delaware City, Del. DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer

The Delaware River dredging project will receive another $97.5 million in federal funding, the most ever set aside in a single year, according to the office of Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.).

The Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to use $62.5 million of existing but unallocated funding for the project, Casey’s office said, and another $35 million was included in the spending bill approved by Congress and signed into law late last year. The money will cover work in both fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

Before now, the most set aside at one time for the project was $41 million, Casey’s office said.

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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