PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Republican Pat Toomey campaigned a lot in this area, but he knows there’s a big difference between campaigning and governing.
Now that he is about to become Pennsylvania’s Junior Senator in Washington, the former Congressman from the Allentown-Bethlehem area — 300 miles east — says he recognizes that there’s a lot more he can learn about this area.
Toomey returned to Pittsburgh, now as Senator-Elect, and he’s conscious that Pennsylvania has two Senators from back east.
“I’m very aware of that and conscious of the fact that both Senator Casey and I are from the same end of the state. I just feel it’s incumbent on me to spend as much time as I can out here,” he said.
So he makes this pledge unequivocally.
“I’m going to spend a lot of time. I need to understand and hear from people here about what’s important and what we need to be doing in western Pennsylvania,” he said.
Although Toomey is not yet a Senator, he has views on the two big issues that have Washington in knots right now: extending the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits.
Like many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Toomey won’t extend unemployment benefits to those out of work unless they are paid for by cuts elsewhere.
“The cost of doing so has to be off-set. I think that’s an important part of this. We are running a staggering deficit, and the federal government that’s spending too much money and running too big a deficit actually prevents us from creating the kind of jobs that we need so badly,” he said.
As for extending the Bush tax cuts which expire on Jan. 1 raising taxes for everyone, Toomey wants tax cuts extended for everyone, the poor and millionaires alike.
“I’m in the camp that says nobody should have a tax increase, and in fact, if we can avoid this huge tax increase that too will contribute to a stronger economy, stronger job growth, and that’s what we need to be focused on.”
No surprise, that’s exactly what Republican senators in Washington are saying — extend the tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy.
On unemployment benefits, Toomey thinks some kind of arrangement will be found to extend those benefits shortly.
Some 85,000 Pennsylvanians lose unemployment this month. And he hopes both these issues will be resolved before he takes the oath of office in January.