Campaign '14
By John Guerriero, Kevin Flowers Erie Times-News staff bloggers
John Guerriero and Kevin Flowers have joined forces for Campaign ’14, a blog about the 2014 races for governor and U.S. House, among others. And you'll read about President Barack Obama, Congress and what's going on in Harrisburg. Check it out and you’ll be a lot more informed before voting in the May 21 primary and the Nov. 5 election.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged ‘Bob Casey’
Posted: February 6th, 2014
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign a controversial farm bill into law on Friday.

It’s a bill that both of Pennsylvania U.S. senators voted against, but for different reasons.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said that while the bill includes “some very good policies,” the bill also includes significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, S.N.A.P., better known as food stamps.

Citing statistics from the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Casey said that 175,000 Pennsylvania households will lose, on average, $65 for food each month.

“The S.N.A.P. program plays a critical role in the battle against hunger for children, seniors and families across our commonwealth and throughout our nation.  For every dollar invested in this program, it is estimated that the economy gets $1.75 in return.  The program fuels consumer spending while providing much needed nutrition for 1.7 million Pennsylvanians. Therefore, I could not support this bill,” he said in a statement.

Toomey, R-Pa., cited several reasons for his “no” vote, saying in a statement that the Senate missed “a vital opportunity to reform some of our government’s largest spending programs.”

He added: “The farm bill legislation continues to subsidize big agribusiness through non-means tested crop insurance and unjustifiable price supports.

“It does not even make token reforms to the sugar program — a program so indefensible that even the Department of Commerce acknowledges that it destroys three manufacturing jobs for every sugar producing job it protects.

“Finally, the food stamp program accounts for nearly 80 percent of the spending in this bill.  Despite total food stamp spending quadrupling since 2000, the Senate could only agree on 1 percent in savings,” Toomey said.

The bill will cost about $96 billion annually.

Obama said in a statement that the farm bill isn’t perfect, but “on the whole, it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America’s food, but for our nation.”

– John Guerriero





Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 17th, 2013

The Erie area is represented by four members of Congress, only one of whom voted against the bill to reopen the government and extend the nation’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., joined 17 of his Senate colleagues in voting against the bill. The vote was 81-18 in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey/ File photo.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., was among the majority who voted for the bill.

On the House side, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler,  R-3rd Dist., and U.S. Rep.  Glenn Thompson, of Howard Township, Centre County,  R-5th Dist., also voted for the bill, where it passed in the GOP-controlled chamber, 285-144.

Toomey said he voted against increasing the nation’s debt burden because the law does nothing to address overspending that has caused the debt to mount.

“The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government,”  Toomey said in a statement.

“I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent on defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill will get the shutdown behind us.  But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order,” he said.

The law includes a bipartisan plan for deficit negotiations, though similar past efforts have failed.

Democrats wasted no time in attacking Toomey’s vote.

“Tea Party Pat Toomey has once again shown his true colors by leading the most extreme wing against a policy to reopen the government and help hundreds of thousand of middle class Americans,”  Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Marc Eisenstein said in a statement.

“Tea Party Pat Toomey wants to continue to hold the nation’s economy hostage while he fights for Tea Party policies that his constituents simply do not support. There has been no clearer indication that Tea Party Pat Toomey is completely out-of-touch with Pennsylvania,” he said.

What do you think about our lawmakers’ votes?

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 27th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has joined the effort to raise awareness for epilepsy.

Casey, D-Pa., is pictured here holding a cup with the hashtag, AJO, which stands for Alyssa Josephine O’Neill. 

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/Contributed photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/Contributed photo


She was the Penn State Behrend nursing student from Millcreek who died Sept. 4 after suffering a grand mal seizure in the shower.

The day before she died, O’Neill sent her mother a text asking her parents to take her to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte. They never got a chance to take her.

As a way to deal with their grief, the O’Neills drove to Starbucks outside the Millcreek Mall and paid for the next 10 pumpkin spice lattes that people ordered and gave the barista a couple of purple markers to mark #AJO on the cups, according to a story written by Erie Times-News reporter David Bruce.

Read Bruce’s full story here.

Purple is the color for epilepsy awareness.

That pay-it-forward campaign has spread not only to Starbucks but to other stores that sell pumpkin-flavored drinks.At the height of the campaign, which has now gone worldwide, I heard an employee at the mall Starbucks say that because of the donations, no one had paid for a pumpkin spice latte for two days.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 25th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey will join MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall today at 2 p.m. to talk about the need to prevent a government shutdown.

Then Casey, D-Pa., will get more national air time this evening when he appears on CNN’s “Crossfire” at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the same topic.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

The GOP-controlled House last week passed a bill that would avert a government shutdown, but defund Obamacare - the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

But the Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to keep the health-care law under any bill it would approve. And the president would veto any legislation that would gut the health care overhaul law from 2010.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., flatly told the Erie Times-News Editorial Board earlier this week: “The government is not going to shut down.”

Kelly voted for the House bill, however.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 24th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is calling on GE Transportation’s incoming chief executive, Russell Stokes, to protect jobs in Erie.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

After GE announced its plan to move 950 jobs to a plant in Texas, Casey’s office said he pushed to protect jobs in the region.

With GE already issuing 500 layoff notices, Casey said in a letter to Stokes to examine the Erie plant’s highly skilled workforce and work to save jobs.

“The workforce in Erie has manufactured world-class locomotives for decades and GE has benefitted significantly from Erie’s skilled workforce,” Casey said in a statement.

“I am calling on GE’s new leadership to take this into account as it makes additional decisions on jobs,” Casey said. “With new leadership, GE Transportation should reconsider maintaining 450 jobs in Erie and recommit to northwestern Pennsylvania.”

Here is the full text of Casey’s letter:

Dear Mr. Stokes,

“As you begin your new role as CEO of GE Transportation, I want to take the opportunity to highlight how vital the workforce of northwestern Pennsylvania is to the success of your company. 

“The workforce in Erie has manufactured world-class locomotives for decades in the region and has directly contributed to making GE Transportation so competitive in the industry.  The locomotives produced in Erie and the engines produced in Grove City are expertly manufactured by dedicated employees.

“As you can expect, I was extremely disappointed when GE Transportation announced its intention to transfer 950 union jobs and 100 corporate positions out of Erie to its new facility in Texas this past spring.  During the negotiations between GE Transportation and UE 506, I was engaged in active dialogue with both labor and the company in an effort to aid a resolution that would have protected jobs.  Ultimately, no agreement was reached. 

“Just a few weeks ago, I was in Erie when GE Transportation issued notices to 500 of the 950 employees informing them that their layoffs will go into effect in early November.  The impact of these layoffs is tremendous—not only on the hard working men and women themselves, but on their spouses, children, and communities. 

“During the next few months as you assess GE’s revenue and contracts in the fourth quarter, I urge you to do everything practicable to avoid putting the remaining 450 potential layoffs into effect.  I stand ready to assist you in this effort and am committed to working with you to maintain a vibrant workforce in northwestern Pennsylvania.”

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 11th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey are among those who have released statements on the Sept. 11 anniversary.

Here is the statement from Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., which includes a statement on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.:

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly/File photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly/File photo

“Twelve years ago today, our country was reminded that not even two great oceans can keep freedom permanently safe from the forces of evil. After the terror of that dark morning, we wept together, we mourned together, and we prayed together — as one united nation under God — and then together we reminded the world that Americans are truly the most resilient citizens Earth has ever known.

” Today, we bow our heads and lower our flags in memory of those we lost and for the families who still miss them dearly. We will never, ever forget those Americans no longer with us, and we will always remember the 21st century ‘day of infamy’ that took them.

 “On 9/11, history summoned America to once again answer a call met by generations of heroes before us. The slogan ‘freedom is not free’ acquired new meaning, and with justice firmly on our side, America fought back. Our war against terrorism was begun that very day by courageous citizens in the sky above Pennsylvania, and over the course of a decade, we took the fight to wherever our challenges demanded. It is with pride and gratitude that I’ve watched our noble warriors defend our homeland, liberate millions from tyranny, and ultimately bring our attackers to justice. Those who have fallen will remain in the eternal memory of a thankful nation.

 “Of course, today also marks the first anniversary of another attack on the United States by another group of Islamist terrorists against our diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The attack took the lives of four Americans – including our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens – and reminded the civilized world that we are still very much at war with terror. My deepest prayers and condolences continue to be with the families of these brave heroes.”

Here is the statement from Sen. Casey, D-Pa.: 

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo


“Today, we remember those we lost on September 11th and the uncommon courage Americans showed during one of our nation’s most difficult times. In
Shanksville, at the Pentagon and in the streets of Manhattan, Americans came together and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others.

” This 12th anniversary of 9/11 is a day to renew our commitment to confront our security and economic challenges in a spirit of unity and cooperation. While
the Senate was in session this week, my wife Terese was able to attend
remembrance events in Shanksville on my behalf. We pray today for those who died on 9/11, for their families and for our troops serving around the globe; we also pray for ourselves, that we may be worthy of their valor.”

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 14th, 2013

If you’re a political junkie, I can recommend Mark Liebovich’s book about the incestuous nature of Washington, D.C. politics.

The book has a long title, “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus plenty of valet parking!” But the book doesn’t read long.

I found myself zipping through the 371-page critique – often humorous – of the connections among politicians, ex-politicians, the media, consultants and PR firms that make Washington spin.

Liebovich, chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, drops plenty of names throughout. But he deliberately left out an index so that people couldn’t just skim it to see if they were included.

As the jacket says: “Those players wishing to know how they came out will need to read the book.”

I’ll give you this much of a heads up. There’s no mention of the two congressmen representing Erie County: U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson, nor of the two U.S. senators from Pennsylvania: Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, is covered as part of the 2012 presidential campaign.

– John Guerriero




Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 18th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., today urged GE Transportation and its union to extend talks past Saturday’s deadline, if necessary, in the hope of saving as many jobs as possible at the Erie plant.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

Casey sent letters to Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of GE Transportation, and Scott Duke, president of UE Local 506, urging them to consider extending talks beyond the deadline in the hope that the parties will reach an agreement that preserves the maximum number of jobs in Erie.

Monday, Casey spoke with both Simonelli and Duke and reiterated the importance of taking all necessary steps to protect Erie’s economy from significant job loss at GE.

“The stakes are substantial. It’s critical that enough time is given to these negotiations in order to protect jobs in Erie and ensure GE remains a driver of northwestern Pennsylvania’s economy,” Casey said in a statement.

A two-month bargaining process began in April after the company announced plans to eliminate 1,050 jobs in Erie, including 950 of the plant’s 3,500 union jobs.

As part of that process, the union has 60 days to negotiate with the company and to seek a way to minimize the number of planned layoffs.

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 10th, 2013

This is no fish tale.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., called on the Obama administration today to act quickly to prevent Asian carp spawning, which he said can occur in more varied environmental conditions than researchers first thought.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

Casey pointed to the destructive effects Asian carp could have on Lake Erie and Pennsylvania’s economy. That caution was made in a letter to Daniel Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Lake Erie, an invaluable natural resource, supports local businesses and industries in Pennsylvania and is threatened by the spread of Asian carp. In fact, Lake Erie’s coastal region supports 1.2 million Pennsylvanian jobs and is an integral part of Pennsylvania’s economy,” Casey wrote.

“We must address the threat posed by Asian carp in order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s economy remains strong and jobs are protected.”

Casey said he has pushed for a law to require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries.

He said he has also urged the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to crack down on the smuggling of live Asian carp into Canada from the U.S.

Casey is an original co-sponsor of the Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, which will enable the federal government to have a more effective partnership with state and local entities that are working to slow the spread of Asian carp.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 19th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is stating his opposition to a plan that would change the way Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are allocated for president.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

Casey spelled out his opposition to Senate Bill 538 in a letter to Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.

“S.B. 538 is the wrong policy at the wrong time,” Casey said in a statement. “For over 200 years Pennsylvanians have spoken with one voice on presidential elections and that should continue. Today, I’m urging the General Assembly to reconsider this proposal that is the wrong path for Pennsylvania.”

Here is the full text of Casey’s letter to Pileggi:

“I write to express my opposition to S.B. 538, legislation recently introduced by you and 12 other state Senators to amend Pennsylvania’s Election Code.  If enacted, S.B. 538 would drastically alter the method by which the Commonwealth allocates its 20 electoral votes and diminish the historical role Pennsylvania has played in electing our nation’s presidents.  I respectfully urge you to reconsider this legislation.

“Since the first presidential election in 1789, Pennsylvania citizens have participated in 56 presidential elections.  For over 200 years, the Commonwealth’s electoral votes have gone to the candidate receiving the plurality of the popular vote.  As you know, 48 states and the District of Colombia also use this so-called general-ticket method, yet S.B. 538 would make Pennsylvania the only state in the country to allocate its votes proportionately.  Under this system, all but two electoral votes would be allocated based on the percentage of the statewide popular vote received by a candidate, dividing the Commonwealth’s 20 votes. 

“Several political scientists have asserted that by doing away with the current winner-take-all system, Pennsylvania’s influence would diminish, ceding power to the voters of other large, politically diverse states.   As a commonwealth, our state should speak with one voice when the people of Pennsylvania make a decision in a presidential election.

“As S.B. 538 moves forward, I respectfully urge you to ensure that this bill is considered and debated with complete transparency, allowing for a thorough review by way of public hearings in the Senate.  To pass this bill absent appropriate Senate hearings would not be in the best interests of the people of Pennsylvania.  Thank you for your consideration of my views on this legislation.”

What are your thoughts on the bill?

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized