Radio PA Roundtable – October 26-28, 2018

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, it’s a special edition previewing Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate election between Republican challenger Congressman Lou Barletta and incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

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Radio PA Roundtable – August 31-September 2, 2018

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, an update from state officials on when you can get a REAL-ID style driver’s license and how much it will cost you. Also, Dr. Terry Madonna stops by to talk about the latest F&M College poll on President Trump, Senator Casey, Governor Wolf and the 2018 elections.

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Radio PA Roundtable – September 4-7, 2015

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, U.S. Senator Bob Casey decides his vote on the Iran nuclear deal, putting both of Pennsylvania’s Senators now on the record. Also, the state budget impasse enters a 3rd month with no end in sight. The pressure is mounting on schools, nonprofits and others, but the key negotiators are offering no glimmers of hope a deal can be reached anytime soon.

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Sen. Casey Talks Immigration, Guns & Jobs

As a busy week in Washington DC began winding down, Radio PA caught up with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) for a wide-ranging interview.  Fresh off of a briefing on an 844-page immigration bill, Casey said he believes an immigration overhaul is highly likely this year.  “I wouldn’t have said that six months ago,” Casey explained.  “If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have said that immigration reform is years away not months away.” 

Bob Casey Jr.

Bob Casey Jr.

A bipartisan group of four Democrats and four Republicans has crafted a plan that would both create a path to citizenship for some of the 11-million people in the country illegally, and significantly beef up security along the Mexican border. 

But just because a piece of legislation is a bipartisan compromise, that doesn’t guarantee passage.  Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) spearheaded the bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks for gun sales, which failed in the Senate this week. 

Senator Casey was among the 54-supporters, but the amendment needed 60-votes to advance.  “It was a bad day for the Senate and I think a bad day for the country,” Casey says, “but it doesn’t mean we’re going to give up and it doesn’t mean that the American people will in any way be satisfied with just one day’s worth of voting and then we move on for another decade.”

Casey’s views on gun legislation have shifted since December’s tragedy in Newtown Connecticut.  In addition to expanded background checks, he’d like to see federal bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

With so many issues before Congress these days, Casey stresses that he doesn’t want to lose sight of the jobs issue.  Along those lines, he’s pushing an extended tax break that he hopes will help the restaurant industry grow its payrolls.  The bipartisan bill would permanently extend the 15-year tax depreciation period for restaurants’ construction and renovation projects.  The tax break used to be spread out over 39-years.  “The only problem is that – if we don’t pass my bill – it will revert back to 39-years, which doesn’t provide the right kind of incentive you would want for a restaurant to grow and expand.”

The restaurant industry has a $17-billion dollar economic impact in Pennsylvania and employees 500,000 people statewide.

Sen. Casey Issues Statement in Support of Same-Sex Marriage

During his reelection bid last year US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) favored civil unions but did not take a position on the same sex marriage debate.  Now, with the question before the US Supreme Court, Casey says he favors marriage equality and believes the federal Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed.

Casey’s official statement concludes: “I understand that many Americans of good will have strong feelings on both sides of this issue.  I believe elected public officials have an abiding obligation to refrain from demonizing and dividing people for partisan or political gain.  Rather, Democrats and Republicans should come together and find areas of agreement to do what’s best for the country, including lesbian and gay Americans.” 

Marriage equality advocates have been putting the pressure on Senators like Casey for weeks now, and Equality Pennsylvania executive director Ted Martin released a statement that applauds Casey’s courage and leadership.  “Marriage matters for all families,” Martin writes, “and Senator Casey’s support for marriage for all committed couples puts him squarely on the right side of history.”

Last week state Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) sent Casey an open letter urging him to support LGBT equality.  Sims – PA’s first openly gay elected lawmaker – says Casey’s statement shows that he’s listening to the millions of voices of Pennsylvanians calling for him to support same-sex marriage.

RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 1.18.13

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman brings you Governor Tom Corbett’s remarks this week on transportation funding, guns, selling the state’s liquor stores and the new contract for Pennsylvania Lottery Management. U.S. Senator Bob Casey also weighs in on the gun proposals being debated in Washington and nationwide and we review the swearing in ceremonies for Pennsylvania’s row officers.

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

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Senator Bob Casey Talks Gun Legislation

President Obama’s call for new laws dealing with military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammo clips could be a difficult fight on Capitol hill, but Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey says the time is right to have a conversation on gun control.

Casey says in light of the massacre in Connecticut, the discussion is important. He expects votes on at least the two proposals addressing assault rifles and ammo clips. Casey does not know if the proposals would receive separate votes or be part of the same legislative package, but he says the efforts to curb gun violence do not end with these two ideas.

Casey believes the measures would not infringe on the rights of sportsmen and women or pose a threat to one’s right to self-defense.

The President also enacted several measures via executive order Wednesday, including those that would assist in the background check process for firearms purchases. The National Rifle Association responded in a statement, saying “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.  Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”



Sen. Casey Pushes for Gift Card Protections

Gift cards may be popular holiday presents, but – if you’re not careful – you could be stuck with nothing more than a lump of coal.   With that in mind, US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is pushing for action on the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act, which would ban all gift card expiration dates and user fees.

“It’s billions of dollars that are sometimes wasted when you have these arbitrary rules about deadlines,” Casey tells Radio PA, calling it a major & a timely issue.  “It’s really an economic issue for consumers, but it’s really a broader economic issue for our larger economy.” 

Consumer Reports surveys show that a quarter of Americans who receive gift cards during the holidays have at least one lying around ten months later.  Casey’s office also cites a financial services firm, which found that consumers left $2.5-billion worth of gift-card value on the table in 2010.

With so much “fiscal cliff” work that must be done before the end of the calendar year, Casey says he will work to attach this language to a larger financial bill that could be on the move.  If the job can’t get done during this holiday season, Casey wants to revisit the issue in 2013. 

The Act, which was introduced by Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), would also bar bankrupt companies from selling gift cards, and protect consumers from being stuck with worthless cards after a company goes out of business.

Obama to Talk Taxes in PA

President Obama will make a Wednesday appearance at Scranton High School, where he will urge Congress to extend and expand the existing payroll tax cut.  The legislation, dubbed the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, is actually sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).  Without Congressional action, the existing payroll tax break of 2% will expire at the end of the year.  “Not extending the payroll tax cut would be raising taxes on middle income families,” Casey explained.    

Numerous GOP candidates have lined up to challenge Casey in his 2012 reelection bid.

Casey’s plan would both extend it and expand it to 3.1%.  “That kind of a cut would put $1,500 – as opposed to last year’s number of $1,000 – $1,500 into the pockets of the average family next year,” Casey said during a conference call with reporters. 

For instance in Cameron County, where the median household income is $36,536, the savings from Casey’s proposed payroll tax cut would be $1,133. In Chester County, where the median household income is $81,380, the savings would be $2,523. 

The bill would be funded through a surcharge on income that exceeds $1-million dollars, which is leading to likely Republican opposition.  Democrats are expected to bring it up for a test vote as early as this week.

GOP Chair Confident Heading into 2012

Republicans are targeting Pennsylvania in their quest to retake the White House in 2012.  The Republican National Committee has already bought up commercial time on cable television, in the Keystone State, to criticize President Barack Obama.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason thinks President Obama is vulnerable in PA.  “The 2012 election will come down to the President’s clear failure to lead on the economy.  He will lose because Pennsylvanians will hold him accountable at the ballot box,” Gleason told reporters on a recent conference call.

Sen. Bob Casey

US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is Seeking a Second Term in 2012

Pointing to last year’s legislative and Congressional races in Pennsylvania, Gleason sees clear Republican momentum.  He thinks it’s enough to not just take back the White House, but Democrat Bob Casey’s US Senate seat too.  While no high-profile Republicans have stepped forward to challenge Casey yet, Chairman Gleason says he is talking to people on a regular basis.  “We have many people considering it, and our polls show that Senator Casey is very vulnerable… He’s voted with the President 97% of the time.  When the President goes down, Bob Casey is going to go down, and we will have a good candidate for the United States Senate,” Gleason says.    

Meanwhile, a June Quinnipiac Poll in Pennsylvania finds that voters believe Casey deserves as second term, by a margin of 47 – 31%.  The election is still 16-months away, and Casey reportedly has $3.1-million dollars in his campaign coffers already.  In a statement, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn says Casey’s in a good position entering his reelection bid.  But, Gleason believes this is going to be an expensive Senate race – possibly in the $25 – $30-million dollar range.