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Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
When you get the call that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey wants to swing by the office to chat, you ask yourself just one question: Which Bob Casey are you gonna get? Will you get the Bob Casey who wonked Rick Santorum to death in 2006? Or will you get rage-filled (expectations adjusted) ‘Woke‘ Bob Casey who stomped across the electoral landscape in 2018?
Now safely re-elected to a third term after defeating Republican Lou Barletta last November, we got equal parts Wonky Bob and Woke Bob when Pennsylvania’s senior United States senator swung by the office for a chat on a very rainy Monday afternoon.
While the filibuster may be under threat in the Senate, it appears to be perfectly safe with Casey, who held forth at length on infrastructure, the state of play in the gun debate, and climate change. But if you really wanted to get him going — well, for Bob Casey, anyway — then all you had to do was get him talking about healthcare. And faster than you could say ‘pre-existing condition,’ he was off to the races.
As you are no doubt aware, Republicans have been trying their darndest to overturn the Affordable Care Act in federal court. In July, a federal appeals court in New Orleans heard 90 minutes of oral arguments from lawyers on both sides of the issue. That appearance came after a lower court judge in Texas declared the ACA unconstitutional, jeopardizing the healthcare of millions of Americans, the New York Times reported at the time.
Speaking to the Capital-Star on Monday, a visibly frustrated Casey went after the GOP for their attacks on the law (Republicans, by the way, have no actual alternative if Obamacare is eventually struck down).
“We’re [Democrats] going to make sure those protections … for pre-existing conditions are there, come hell or high water,” Casey said. “If we make the presidential election about that, and the next congressional election about that, that will do quite well.”
Casey, who’s not a fan of Medicare for All, said he’s going to spend as much time as he can protecting the Affordable Care Act, because “these threats are real.”
“Republicans are not kidding around,” he continued. “I think a lot of Americans thought, ‘Those Republicans, they won’t repeal the Affordable Care Act. They wouldn’t do that.’ They’re just going to rip away at it. We found that out in 2017 and 2018, that they’re deadly serious. And when they failed in the repeal, they went right to this goddamn lawsuit, and here we are.”
He paused, then added, with a grin, “That’s a term of art, ‘Goddamn.'”
Casey, who’s backing former Veep Joe Biden in the 2020 primary sweepstakes, said his fellow Dems are taking their eye off the ball if they’re going all in for Medicare for All. Better, he appeared to indicate, is if the 2020 hopefuls focus on protecting what’s already in place.
“I’m going to be critical of Democrats,” he said. “Democrats in the presidential campaign and congressional campaigns, and in our … daily work in Washington, have to focus on these health care issues. It’s interesting to have a debate about some new idea. Some, some people want to talk about Medicare for All all day long. It’s a mistake to spend our time debating some future idea when the whole thing is at risk with this lawsuit, the entire system is are being undermined in real time by [GOP] sabotage.”
You can read more of our conversation with Casey (in which Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes served as co-inquisitor) right over here. And in an admirable display of bipartisanship, both Casey and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., agreed that the White House leaving the Kurds in northern Syria to twist in the wind is a terrible idea.
Staff Reporter Elizabeth Hardison gets you smart, fast, on the Godspell-sized cast of candidates vying for the 48th Senate District seat formerly held by Republican Mike Folmer.
On our Commentary Page, a Temple University scholar explains what a 1905 charitable gift from the Rockefellers says about our current ethical dilemmas over charitable giving from controversial people.
As they do, former GOP U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent, Ryan Costello, and Pat Meehan have made the move to lobbying, the Inquirer reports.
Allegheny County District Attorney candidate Lisa Middleman had some sharp words for Democratic incumbent Stephen Zappala in the wake of a published report that four teens were jailed for months as their alibis went unchecked, the Post-Gazette reports.
Some 21K Pennsylvania state employees can now drop their union membership thanks to some language slipped into their new contracts, PennLive reports.
The Morning Call talked to voters across the Lehigh Valley and Luzerne County for their feelings on impeachment.
Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:
In the wake of a contentious town hall meeting, some Philadelphia high schools could be closed longer than expected, WHYY-FM reports.
Five of nine U.S. House Republicans from Pa. tell WITF-FM they support efforts to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Banks that are uneasy about taking money from legal pot sales aren’t much more at ease about hemp, Stateline.org reports.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he has no plans to resign, Roll Call reports.
President Trump keeps saying there was a stenographer on the line for his now-infamous Ukraine call. The White House didn’t release such an account, Talking Points Memo points out.
What Goes On.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine holds an 11 a.m. newser at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, to explain why you should really, really, really, really, really, times a billion, get a flu shot this year.
At 2 p.m., Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, hosts the House Democratic Policy Committee for a 2 p.m. public hearing on fighting overdose deaths. You’ll find them at the Teamsters Temple Banquet Hall,
Gov. Tom Wolf does not have any public events on his schedule today.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
State Rep. Tim O’Neal holds a 12 p.m. reception at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh, with special guest, Speaker Mike Turzai (which is as close as Republicans get to having Kanye guest on your track). Admission runs from a mere $250 to $2,500. So we ain’t sayin’ he a gold digger, baby. But he might have baby Louis Vuitton under his underarm …
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out to longtime Friend O’the Blog, Keegan Gibson, of Ceisler Media, and to Capital-Star opinion contributor Dick Polman, both of whom celebrate today. Congrats and enjoy the day, gents.
After tearing an ACL trying to work that tortured conceit up above, what else are we going with, but …
And now you’re up to date.
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