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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sen. Toomey bill repeals Obama-era anti-discrimination regulation in auto industry

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Pat Toomey - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pat Toomey
It’s been a chaotic year and a half with the Trump administration in the White House and Republicans in control of U.S. Congress. But one area where both Trump and Republicans have been organized and effective is in rolling back financial regulations created in the wake of the Great Recession.

Since 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has seen several regulations stripped by Congress, including a repeal championed by U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

Now, a law co-written by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) has eliminated another CFPB guidance; one that was created to ensure racial minorities aren't taken advantage of by the auto-lending industry. On May 21, President Donald Trump signed into law the repeal of that informal rule. With the guidance gone, consumers in Allegheny County and the entire U.S. shouldn’t expect the CFPB to tackle car companies and auto lenders that upcharge based on race.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

He's Number 1!: Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey is the most hated U.S. Senator on Twitter

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 4:33 PM

Pat Toomey - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pat Toomey
Tweets are gauged by how far they spread and what reactions they receive. A good tweet is typically retweeted far and wide, and also receives thousands of likes, or faves. A bad tweet is one that receives more replies than likes. This phenomenon is called being "ratioed" and it has become generally accepted on Twitter that being ratioed means the tweet is a poor take on an issue.

“The lengthier the [Twitter] conversation, the surer it is that someone royally messed up,” wrote Luke O’Neil on Esquire Magainze’s website in April 2017.

And new data from progressive analytics firm Data For Progress shows that the U.S. Senator with the worst ratio and highest percentage of ratioed tweets is none other than Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh). Data for Progress calculated every U.S. senator’s Twitter ratio by dividing all senators’ tweets by the number of replies they received from Dec. 25, 2016 to April 18, 2018.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

State Rep. candidate Sara Innamorato says state Rep. Dom Costa is 'hiding' in failing to attend candidate forum

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 5:52 PM

Sara Innamorato speaks at City Paper's candidate forum on April 12 - CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • CP Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Sara Innamorato speaks at City Paper's candidate forum on April 12
On May 2, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh canceled its planned candidate forum for the the race for the Pennsylvania House District 21 between Democratic challenger Sara Innamorato of Lawrenceville and state Rep. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights).

There were five proposed dates for the forum and Innamorato was wiling to alllow Costa to choose based on his schedule. But, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Costa said he couldn’t make it to any of the five proposed times.

And with the announced cancellation, the Innamorato campaign is calling out Costa and says he is “hiding" from voters.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Both U.S. Reps Conor Lamb and Keith Rothfus voted to weaken a Wall Street regulation

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 1:55 PM

Conor Lamb (left) and Keith Rothfus (right)
  • Conor Lamb (left) and Keith Rothfus (right)
After U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) won a special election in March to fill a seat vacated by former Congressman Tim Murphy, it set up a battle of incumbents for the newly drawn Pennsylvania 17th U.S. Congressional District, which encompasses all of Beaver County and suburban sections of Allegheny County.

Lamb and U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) will square off in November. The candidates differ on many topics, including starkly different views on organized labor and the government’s role in providing health care.

But in one area, they appear to be on the same page. On April 13, both Lamb and Rothfus voted to alter the Volcker Rule in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. This rule was established after the financial crisis of 2008, and prohibits banks from making risky investments with customers’ money. The bill that cleared the U.S. House, the Volcker Rule Regulation Harmonization Act, would exempt banks with less than $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule. The bill passed by a vote of 300-104, and still needs to go through the U.S. Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Two Southwestern Pennsylvania Republicans will see thousands in extra income thanks to tax-cut bill loophole

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Mike Kelly (left) and Keith Rothfus
  • Mike Kelly (left) and Keith Rothfus
Since the late 2000s, many congressional Republicans have been critical of the country’s rising national debt. By the early 2010s, a cavalcade of Republican candidates swept into the U.S. House on the message of “fiscal responsibility,” including local U.S. Reps like Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

But those budget-deficit concerns appeared to be thrown out the window when representatives like Kelly and Rothfus and voted for the big tax-cut bill last year. According to a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the national budget deficit will be $1.85 trillion higher over the next 10 years than previously projected thanks to the tax-cut bill.

And on top of that, analysis of the tax cuts show that benefits will disproportionately go to the country's wealthiest citizens, and won’t lead to much improvement for low- to middle-income earners. But that doesn’t mean the Congressional Republicans who backed the tax bill will see many negative effects in their personal finances. In fact, a new study shows that U.S. Reps like Kelly and Rothfus will personally reap thousands of dollars in benefits every year thanks to the tax cuts.

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Pittsburgh City Paper hosting candidates forum/game night at Spirit in Lawrenceville on Thu., April 12

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 2:35 PM

forum4.jpg
Following politics these days is a whirlwind. With the chaos of the Trump administration, it's hard to stay focused on local political races that will more directly affect constituents. Heck, even controversy surrounding local politicians like former U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy can distract constituents from other state or municipal political stories.

But City Paper wants to help. On April 12, CP is teaming up with Women for the Future of Pittsburgh (WTF PGH) to host a political forum and game night with political candidates for Pennsylvania General Assembly seats and U.S. congressional seats before the May 15 Primary Election. The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at Spirit in Lawrenceville, and will include plenty of time for candidates to stump their platforms and meet voters. But the event will also include games for the candidates to play as a way to entertain and inform constituents. There will also be a cash bar available.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

People who live outside of Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District are trying to vote in special election

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 1:49 PM

A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18 - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • A sign for Rick Saccone at a home in Sewickely, which is outside of PA-18
The special election happening today on March 13 has garnered so much attention and excitement that people from across the region are champing at the bit to cast votes for Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) or Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth).

Problem is, only people that live and are registered in Pennsylvania’s 18th U.S. Congressional District can actually vote in the special election. But that isn’t stopping people from heading to their polling places anyway.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stumping for congressional candidate Conor Lamb, former Vice President Joe Biden discusses future for young people

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 4:28 PM

Conor Lamb (left) with Joe Biden at March 6 event at Robert Morris University - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEBASTIAN FOLTZ
  • Photo courtesy of Sebastian Foltz
  • Conor Lamb (left) with Joe Biden at March 6 event at Robert Morris University
On March 6, former Vice President Joe Biden visited the Robert Morris University campus in Moon to stump for U.S. Congressional candidate Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon). Lamb is facing Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) in a special election on March 13 for an open seat in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District.

Biden spoke inside RMU’s Yorktown Hall to a crowd of more than 400 people about Lamb’s dedication to supporting middle-class Pennsylvanians and to lifting up labor unions. But Biden also focused on issues pertaining to creating a better future for the country. He said that he has never felt more optimistic about America than right now, and said that it's young candidates like Lamb who give him hope.

“Character matters. The man I am campaigning for, he reminds me of my son, Beau Biden,” said Biden referencing his late son, an U.S. Army veteran who died of cancer in 2015. “He has character.”

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Beware of a fake poll circulating about the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 3:24 PM

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Polls in recent weeks taken of potential voters for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District have shown candidates Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) in a close race. Since the second week in February, no poll has given either candidate a significant lead. Two polls from February gave Saccone leads of three points and six points, respectively, but the most recent Emerson poll, released March 5, gave Lamb a three-point lead.

But political observers should remain wary, as a fake poll of the 18th District race is circulating. A Virginia-based group called the Blumenthal Research Daily released a survey on March 2 at 1:45 p.m. which showed Lamb with a one-point lead over Saccone. The survey was announced via Twitter and has since been retweeted 34 times and liked 46 times, even though the BRD Twitter account only has 36 followers.

Three hours after the survey was released, Timothy Blumenthal, of BRD, posted a statement about the survey announcing that it is fake. “Hello everyone. I guess I’ll just start off with the obvious. Yes, Blumenthal Research Daily is a fake pollster,” wrote Blumenthal on March 2. “The numbers used were random, and I did little to no research before piecing together a rather sloppy google doc.”

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pennsylvania Democrats criticize the new tax cuts for overwhelmingly benefiting the wealthy

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 3:57 PM

Bob Casey at an event in Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Bob Casey at an event in Pittsburgh
Political ads for the upcoming March 13 special election between former U.S. assistant Attorney Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) have taken up the new tax cuts as a central issue. The National Republican Congressional Committee has put out attack ads stating that Lamb is aligned with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who called the tax cuts “crumbs” for middle-class families. (Lamb has said the tax cuts are a “betrayal” to the middle class, but stated in January that he doesn’t support Pelosi.)

Since the bill's passage in December, headlines about the tax cuts have focused on some large corporations that have doled out $1,000 bonuses to workers and others that have slightly increased workers' wages. Also, according to nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, households making $60,000 a year will have their after-tax income inch up about 1.5 percent after 2018, but those will tax savings will tick down by 2025 and be eliminated in 2027.

And some Pennsylvania Democrats are starting to point out who they believe are the real winners of the tax-cut bill: the wealthy.

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