Thursday, July 24, 2014

Teletownhall with Senator Toomey [Partial]

Tuesday night the phone rang and it was a teletownhall withSen. Pat Toomey, already in progress.  I was able to listen in for awhile until another call came in that I had to take.  This was the first time that the household got a call from Toomey.  His office has not been eager to respond to the few phone calls and letters I have written him  (all very polite) so I was surprised to be on the call list.  Here are my notes from the part of the call I was able to hear.  Keep in mind that the call had already started when I came in, and that it continued after I had to hang up.  These notes are not intended as a transcript.  My apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Q: Children on the border.  [caller claims over 80% come with adults; Toomey did not address this allegation]

PT: Many are 16,17 year old boys and a security risk.  Some have gang connections.  It is a humanitarian crisis.  Send them back so parents will stop sending them up.  Administration won’t do it.

Q:  Keystone pipeline

PT:  I co-sponsored that bill.  Reid won’t let it come up for a vote.  It is a huge opportunity for Pennsylvania.

Q:  Why not raise the gas tax, make it a percentage of the purchase, not a flat rate?

PT:  A user fee so there’s no [missed this].  The problem with raising it is that we aren’t spending the money we raise now as wisely as we could.  We are spending it on scenic not essential items, like bike routes.  It should be used for bridges and roads, essential items.

Q:  EPA garnishing wages on people who put a pond in their yard?

PT:  First I’ve heard of it, let me look into it.

Q:  Extending unemployment benefits

PT:  I offered a bill, but with reforms.  These extended benefits (beyond six months), my bill gradually phased them out.

Q:  immigration, change law, did Bush sign it?

PT:  We need better immigration laws.  Yes, the law passed in 2008, but the problem didn’t start until the President [Obama] said we wouldn’t send people back if they were under 31.

Q:  Ryan budget, stop slander, should be on conservative radio and tv about it, get values out not slander

PT:  Call back and we’ll send you a summary of the Ryan budget.  Don’t live beyond means – deficits, balanced budget in 10 years.  Reform big programs to put them on a sustainable path.

Q:  40 year old single mother, unemployed since 2009, living with a relative, circle – daycare to expensive but need daycare to work

PT:  I hear this on a regular basis across PA.  My heart goes out to people.  We need more jobs.  The medical device tax is costing us thousands of jobs; we need to repeal that.  Agriculture is big in Berks Co [caller from Berks]; the EPA is putting a damper on the ag sector

At that point I had to leave the call.  During the call Toomey asked people to remotely vote (by pressing the appropriate key on their phone keypad) on whether or not schools should do background checks on all their employees.  

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