Setting A Bipartisan Example At The State Of The Union
Senator Bob Casey and I do not let the partisan bickering of Washington interfere with our service to Pennsylvanians. Tuesday night, we continued our tradition of sitting together during the President's State of the Union address. It was a simple, yet genuine gesture of good will, despite party differences. Imagine if all our colleagues in Congress took it to heart. I know they can. I hope they will.
Responding To The President
With Philly Fox 29's Mike and Sheinelle (who were broadcasting live from Times Square for the Super Bowl), I shared my thoughts on President Obama's State of the Union address. While the President said much that I disagree with, he referred to several items where we can work together to get our economy moving again - tax reform, natural gas development, worker training, patent reform, and job creation.
I am troubled, however, that the President threatened to double down on many of the policies that have made the economy worse with unilateral executive fiats that may exceed his constitutional and legal authority.
You can read my full response to the State of the Union here.
Inviting York's Mayor Kim Bracey To Be My Guest
Handing York's Mayor Kim Bracey her ticket to the State of the Union Tuesday night.
I was pleased to have York Mayor Kim Bracey as my guest for the State of the Union address. Born and raised in York, Mayor Bracey's commitment to her country goes back to her service in the U.S. Air Force. Her example of bipartisanship and leadership is an inspiration to me and so many others in Pennsylvania. I can think of no better model for cooperation - and results - than Mayor Bracey. She is a successful public servant, mother, and grandmother, and I am honored she was able to join me in Washington this year.
Mayor Bracey: ". . . I thank Senator Toomey for inviting me. I take pride in my efforts to work with anyone, regardless of political party. It is my sincere hope that the relationship Senator Toomey and I are forging will illustrate that there is always the opportunity to work to find common ground and to put the needs of the people of Pennsylvania ahead of partisan politics."
Good News For Pennsylvania's Farmers
I am pleased to report that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will re-examine its decision to regulate certain practices on small farms.
OSHA has decided to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to re-examine its decision to ignore federal law and impose more regulations on small farms. The ever-mounting red tape hinders the agricultural industry and threatens thousands of hard-working farm families across the Commonwealth. Hopefully, OSHA's review will lead to a common-sense approach that protects small farms and is in accordance with federal law.
OSHA's decision to review its oversight of small farms comes after a bipartisan group of senators requested that the agency reverse a recent decision which unlawfully allows it to regulate farms that have less than 10 employees.
Advocating A Responsible Solution To Flood Insurance
This week, the Senate debated reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. I firmly believe we need a common sense approach to assist Pennsylvania homeowners, policy holders, and communities struggling to meet the rates established as a result of Biggert-Waters. That's why I offered a measure which would have slowed the phase-in for rate increases triggered by a home sale and for properties most dramatically affected by remapping.
In addition to protecting taxpayers, my balanced proposal would have provided certainty for homeowners, policy holders, and communities. At the same time, slower phase-ins provide the opportunity for affected homeowners in our Commonwealth and across the country to prepare for the future cost of flood insurance.
The National Flood Insurance Program is $24 billion in debt and reforms are necessary to ensure its financial solvency. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this important issue.
Behind The Scenes: Talking With PA TV About The State Of The Union