Sen. Casey: ‘America doesn’t surrender to a problem’
U.S. Senator Bob Casey visited Northampton Community College’s Lipkin Theatre Aug. 21 for a town hall attended by a friendly but small audience of about 100 people, including Democratic area elected officials. Over the course of an hour, the usually soft-spoken legislator responded to a host of questions on topics extending from the electoral college to infrastructure.
He was at his most passionate when responding to questions about what the federal government should do in response to the gun violence in this country. The Scranton-area resident said he is tired of hearing Republicans say there’s nothing we can do or we have to get used to it.
“America doesn’t surrender to a problem,” he declared. “We will never surrender to the scourge of gun violence,” he told an applauding audience waving “AGREE” signs. He went on to list a number of things Congress could do that, in his estimation, would reduce the likelihood of another mass shooting.
He wants universal background checks. He noted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on a measure that has already passed in the House, but is concerned Senate Republicans will try to weaken a measure as a result of pressure from the NRA.
He also spoke in support of “red flag” laws, under which a person’s firearms can be removed upon proof that he’s a danger to himself or others. Casey added that some of his Republican colleagues will join in this legislation.
He supports a ban on military assault-style rifles and limits on magazine size, noting that the Dayton shooter was able to kill nine people and wound another 20 in just 32 seconds.
He also favors a “no fly, no buy” rule Currently, persons who are banned from flying because of suspected terrorism can still own firearms.
Though Senator Casey said that an impeachment inquiry is a function of the House, he brought one document with him – the Mueller report. He even read highlighted excerpts indicating “substantial evidence” of intent to obstruct justice.
Medicare & Medicaid
Casey pointed out that 38 percent of the children in Pennsylvania and 60 percent of nursing home residents receive Medicaid. Yet President Trump wants to cut $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and $855 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. But he’s unwilling to support Medicare for All, saying we have to defend what we have now from Republican attempts to sabotage Obamacare.
Casey complained President Trump “talked about it, talked about it but has never done anything about it.” He called for a national infrastructure bill to address structurally deficient bridges, as well as highways, cables and the power grid.
In response to a question from Bethlehem Township resident Karen Berry, Casey was direct. “Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity and it will lead to the deaths of millions of people around the world.” He criticized President Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Accord, reversals on the Clean Power Plan and EPA appointments.
Northampton County Council candidate Kerry Myers praised Casey for his “cajones.” The Senator responded, “That must be a Latin term.”
Sitting in the front row were County Executive Lamont McClure, Easton Mayor Sal Panto, State Rep. Bob Freeman and Easton City Controller Tony Bassil.