Under normal circumstances – anyone remember what those days were like? – bombshells like someone being convicted for deriding the wrong appointed official in public (paging US Rep. Joe Wilson) and the historic weakening of the wall between church and state would be contenders not just for the biggest winners and losers of the week, but perhaps the year.
But these aren’t normal circumstances. With the House passage of the GOP’s version of a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, untold millions of Americans are facing untold hurdles to securing health insurance for themselves and their loved ones. No one knows the final details yet, because the GOP not only didn’t hew to its promises for transparency in the process; House members also didn’t bother to wait for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to issue its scores on the particulars of what the bill will cost, both financially and in terms of lives lost. (The CBO report will be issued next week.)
So while the GOP and President Donald Trump pick up a much-needed W, there are still only preliminary details on what will happen to Pennsylvanians under the new plan. If you would like to call your congressmen to congratulate them on their vote and let them know how happy you will be to remember their stance come 2018, there are plenty of places to find out how they voted.
On to matters easier to parse:
Bob Casey: Anytime you manage to enrage the Homeland Security chief and watch your potential opponent faceplant, it’s going to qualify as a good week. The US senator spent all day Wednesday whipping up a tweetstorm in an ultimately failed effort to prevent the deportation of a Honduran woman and her 5-year-old son – both seeking asylum – from a Berks County detention center, which brought national attention to the issue. Among those reached by Casey was Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who urged the senator to write laws on the issue instead of tweets.
Larry Krasner: Not only did the progressive candidate for Philadelphia DA snag endorsements from key wards and City Council members, his campaign is also being buttressed by a super PAC that has received a total of $1.4 million from George Soros to be spent on Krasner’s behalf in pursuit of the nomination.
Robert Mellow: Considering that he was convicted on federal corruption charges, the mere fact that the State Employees’ Retirement System is even considering restoring his $20,509 monthly state pension is a huge victory for the former state senator. The reasoning for the reconsidering: since he was convicted on federal charges, he may be eligible to receive the state monies.
Brian Sims: The state Rep. from Philadelphia was revealed to be the subject of a state ethics probe into his numerous speaking engagements and the attendant fees and travel expenses. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the questionable nature of Sims’ paid speaking engagements was the subject of a City&State PA investigation last year.
Tom Marino: In a stunning reversal, the US Rep. won’t be appointed as the Trump administration’s drug czar. While no reason was given by the administration, speculation was rampant enough about potentially disqualifying incidents from the congressman’s past that he felt the need to put out a statement that he voluntarily withdrew from consideration because of an illness in the family.
Scott Wagner: The GOP state senator, who will be running to unseat Gov. Tom Wolf next year, tangled with a campaign tracker in an incident sure to be replayed ad infinitum in ads next year.