Inquirer Editorial: Toomey shows the way for other lawmakers

Sen. Pat Toomey AP
Sen. Pat Toomey AP
Posted: August 24, 2013

It isn't easy to be a moderate Republican these days. Witness the blowback Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) faced after they pushed for immigration reform. On other issues, they have gone out of their way to appease the GOP's tea-party element.

Given this environment, it should be comforting to Pennsylvanians that their junior senator isn't afraid to reach across the aisle to the benefit of all Americans.

For example, while Sen. Pat Toomey thinks the Affordable Care Act would be best repealed, he is working with Democrats to amend it instead. Toomey told the Inquirer Editorial Board this week that because President Obama would not sign any bill that kills his signature legislation, the senator is focused on addressing pieces of the law he considers egregious, such as its medical-device tax.

Toomey and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Bob Casey, have been part of a bipartisan effort to repeal the 2.3 percent tax on total device sales, which they say will have an outsize impact in Pennsylvania. The state is home to 576 medical-device companies, making it the nation's fourth-largest producer in the industry.

The problem with repealing the tax is that it would mean replacing the $30 billion it's expected to generate for health care over 10 years. A House bill to eliminate the levy has been sitting in committee, because GOP leaders know any such measure they send to the Senate could become a vehicle for tax hikes to make up for the lost revenue.

Casey and Toomey are also part of a bipartisan endeavor marked by less controversy and, it is hoped, better chances of passage - an expansion of Gettysburg National Military Park. That legislation, which is endorsed by the Department of the Interior, would annex the historic train station where Abraham Lincoln arrived to give his address.

The park's boundaries would also be expanded to include 45 acres at the southern end of the battlefield, where cavalry skirmishes occurred in July 1863. That land was donated to the Gettysburg Foundation, which plans to donate it to the park once its boundaries are extended, so no federal funding for the acquisition would be required.

Surely there are more issues on which members of Congress can put aside partisan sniping and work together for a common goal. Toomey isn't so much being bold as he is being sensible. That's what Congress needs.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|