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NEWS
May 8, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sens. Robert P. Casey and Pat Toomey called Wednesday for an audit of every regional Veterans Affairs office nationwide - the latest round of scrutiny aimed at an agency already facing sharp questions for its management in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Under a bill unveiled by Pennsylvania's two senators and supported by members of a bipartisan working group cochaired by Casey, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office would be required to review regional VA offices within a year of passage for "consistency" in decision-making, and to find and share best practices at facilities that are doing well.
NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. Pat Toomey waded into the roiling debate over law enforcement Tuesday, defending most officers as honorable and dedicated, and worrying that "scapegoating" mobs were clamoring to punish police whether or not they are found guilty of wrongdoing. In a 15-minute speech on the Senate floor, the Pennsylvania Republican acknowledged that there were "real and horrible" cases of misconduct and that "unlawful" police activity could not be tolerated. But, he added, "if you listen to many of the police critics that we hear from today, you'd think that there's some sort of epidemic of crimes perpetrated by the police, and that . . . I assure you, is not true.
NEWS
May 6, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former New Jersey State Sen. Martha W. Bark, 86, a Republican from Burlington County, has died, a family friend confirmed Monday. No details of Sen. Bark's death or funeral arrangements were available from the friend, who answered the phone at Sen. Bark's home, or from officials who commented on her accomplishments. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said in a statement: "This is a sad loss for Martha's family, her friends, and those she served with in public office.
NEWS
April 28, 2015
IF YOU THINK (at all) about Philly state lawmakers, what comes to mind? Take a minute. Take two. Not much positive, right? Well, without getting any hopes up, meet freshman Philly state Sen. Art Haywood. He is, by any measure, apart from the pack, separate from the stream of sameness the city tends to send to Harrisburg. He did not come up through Democratic City Committee. He did not work for a politician. Most ward leaders didn't support him in last year's primary.
NEWS
April 26, 2015 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski officially started his U.S. Senate campaign Friday at a Montgomery County union hall, saying that he would save and create middle-class jobs. Contending he would bring "sanity back into Congress," Pawlowski became the second candidate to officially draw a bead on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, already in the crosshairs of national Democratic leaders. Pawlowski spoke to about 50 people at the Fort Washington office of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a group that represents 7,000 eastern Pennsylvania workers.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Staff Writer
WASHINGTON - Six U.S. senators, including Al Franken (D., Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), wrote to federal regulators Tuesday, urging them to block Comcast Corp.'s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable. Should the deal win approval, "we believe that Comcast-TWC's unmatched power in the telecommunications industry would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans," wrote Franken, Warren, and Sens. Bernard Sanders (I., Vt.), Ed Markey (D., Mass.)
NEWS
April 19, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski launched a run for the U.S. Senate on Friday, setting up a Democratic primary against former Rep. Joe Sestak in a race crucial to their party's chances of taking back the Senate in 2016. Pawlowski pointed to his years leading Pennsylvania's third-largest city. "I look forward to listening to voters and sharing with them the story of success we've had in Allentown in solving real problems for real people," he said in a release announcing his campaign.
NEWS
April 18, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski will run for the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Democrat to pose a primary challenge to former Rep. Joe Sestak, according to party leaders informed of his plans. Pawlowski is scheduled to announce his decision Friday. His plans were confirmed by Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and U.S. Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.), the party chair in Philadelphia. "He's a formidable candidate," Brady said. "He's a pretty quality guy. " Pawlowski is expected to run on his record as mayor of the state's third-largest city, which is enjoying an economic renaissance.
NEWS
April 17, 2015
THIS WEEK, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill that would strip the city's ability to enact its own 2-month-old sick-leave law. That law required any business with 10 or more employees to give workers an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. About 200,000 workers - an estimated 35 to 40 percent of the city's workforce - work jobs, many at low wages, that don't include paid sick leave. The last time such a privileged body exhibited such a stunning affront to working people, the guillotine was the weapon of choice, and not a few leaders lost their heads.
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