The scene on South 23rd Street this afternoon provided a nice encapsulation of the race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania this year. Inside the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry Officers Quarters, a group of veterans were singing the praises of Republican former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, saying the country needs a strong economy to maintain a strong military. Outside, a group of veterans supporting Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak waved signs accusing Toomey of doing more to protect Wall Street insiders than the nation's military.
"That's a very creative and ridiculous reading of my record," Toomey bristled when PhillyClout told him the Sestak campaign had e-mailed its accusations to reporters as he spoke. Among the Sestak claims: Toomey voted in 2003 against a $1,500 bonus for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and against a measure to give reservists better access to medical and dental screenings. By contrast, Sestak noted that Toomey, a former Wall Street derivatives trader, advocated for less financial regulations while he headed the conservative Club For Growth.
Toomey said some military spending measures get embedded in larger legislation to score political points. "Now there are times when some of these measures are as an excuse to undermine the fiscal stability of our country," he told the veterans. "That's very bad policy. And we shouldn't hold military and veteran needs hostage to wasteful spending." Toomey said if elected he will push to have military spending stand alone in its own legislation.