PA Senate candidates react to Brown

Pat Toomey thinks President Obama’s health care overhaul is dead – at least in its current form. He doesn’t see Senate Democrats attempting to pass a bill through reconciliation, and is confident the House won’t accept the upper chamber’s December legislation.

Like many Republicans, Toomey views Scott’s Brown’s win as a repudiation of the health care bill, which he calls “a monstrosity.” He says despite a year of blunders by Democratic leaders, “even they recognize that when the people of Massachusetts resoundingly reject their agenda, especially the centerpiece of their agenda, it’s time to reconsider.”

During an interview this morning, Toomey trashed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s transactional approach to passing a health care bill.

(Incidentally, the New York Times has a great profile of Reid on its website right now. It’s definitely worth your time.)

Despite his health care prediction, Toomey says he’s not writing off the entire Obama agenda.  “We still have to be concerned that bad policies could come out. It’s not clear that everything is fine because of 41 Republicans. Some of those Republicans, at times, will come down on some of these things in a way I don’t agree with. I don’t think we’re out of the woods on some of the harmful elements in the agenda.”

On the Democrat’s future? “I certainly hope they recalibrate, and that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don’t realize that America as a whole doesn’t look like San Francisco.”

Pennsylvania’s two Democratic candidates, incumbent Arlen Specter and challenger Joe Sestak, are also weighing in on the Brown upset.  Sestak says Democrats “have lost the seat of Senator Ted Kennedy and have seriously jeopardized his life’s work of seeing that all Americans have access to health care.” He blames the bill’s unpopularity on the party establishment that’s backing Specter, saying, “back-room political dealing in the Senate delayed this bill, weakened this bill, and tarnished it in the eyes of the American people.”

Specter’s take? “The Massachusetts election shows Washington must change its ways.  Now that there 59 Democrats in the Senate, it will be indispensable for at least some bipartisanship to deal with the serious problems confronting America.”

And finally, long shot GOP candidate Peg Luksik calls the Brown win, “a reminder for Congress to listen to the people. The people of Massachusetts, just like the people of Pennsylvania, want our lawmakers in Washington to pay attention to what the citizens have to say with regards to health care reform, tax increases, bloated spending, and our national security.”

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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