Mail call: Sestak edition

Congressman Joe Sestak stumped in Lancaster today, and his campaign just sent this press release out. Two trends I’ve noticed: Sestak is now “Admiral Sestak” on first reference in their missives. After that, he’s “Joe.” It’s interesting to me that they’re pushing  the military angle, but  simultaniously trying to be more informal.

Anyway, here’s the release:

LANCASTER, Pa. – One year after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Admiral Joe Sestak reaffirmed his commitment to practical solutions to overcome the economic challenges facing working families, which must include investment in small businesses.

Joe was joined at La Cocina Restaurant on King Street by some of those hit hardest by the recession, including local business owners and an unemployed worker.

“A year ago today, I got into this race to fight on the side of Pennsylvania’s working families,” said Joe. “Middle class workers across the state are struggling because of failed choices that put the powerful ahead of the people.”

Congressman Toomey led the biggest spending spree our nation has ever seen, eliminating the “pay-as-you-go” system and supporting President Bush’s budgets that turned a surplus in a record deficit. During his tenure, the wealthy got wealthier and small businesses and middle class Pennsylvanians were left behind. Joe believes that Pennsylvanians deserve a clear and comprehensive plan for growth and job creation. The key to recovery, Joe said, is in practical policies that help bolster La Cocina and other small businesses, which create 80 percent of all jobs.

Joe has introduced legislation as part of his Plan for Pennsylvania Families to have a 15 percent tax credit for small businesses to increase hiring, a move that could create up to 5 million jobs over the next two years, as well as tax benefits to encourage investments in small businesses. In addition, he proposes increasing available credit to allow more entrepreneurs to start businesses. His plan includes permanently establishing the Small Business Administration’s Community Express Lending Program, which accounts for almost a quarter of women and minority small business loans.

“These are sensible steps that can put our economy on the path to recovery,” said Joe. “In the Navy I learned that solving problems requires a practical approach, and we cannot let politics or ideology stand in the way of helping move our economy forward to create the jobs Pennsylvania is looking for.”

The reality is that while Congressman Toomey may claim to be on the side of small business, his record says something else entirely.

Fact Check: Congressman Toomey’s Record against Small Businesses

Pennsylvanians deserve to know the truth about Congressman Toomey’s disappointing small business record. The facts are clear: he has passed on every major opportunity to support small businesses, unrelentingly supports the interests of big corporations and misrepresents his own small business experience while trying to cover up a career on Wall Street. If elected to the Senate, Congressman Toomey will continue opposing small businesses in favor of large corporations:


  • Spent five years in Congress, championing efforts that successfully cut the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) budget by 50% ($507 million in 2005 vs. $1.1 billion in 2000);
  • Voted to eliminate funding and increase small business fees on one of the SBA’s most popular small business loan program (7(a) loans); and
  • Voted to give only 5% of the 2001/2002 tax cuts to small businesses, but 53% to the top 1% of earners.


  • Helped write the law deregulating Wall Street that lead to the recession;
  • Voted for corporate tax loopholes to help big businesses close factories in the United States and ship jobs overseas; and
  • Supports a flat tax that favors the wealthiest Americans and renders small businesses unable to compete against major corporations.


  • Congressman Toomey has spent his career working for Wall Street and fighting for their special interests in Congress.
  • Toomey’s role in the chain of restaurants he cites as his small business experience was as an investor.
  • “In a 2000 sworn deposition taken in a lawsuit against Rockin’ Robin’s, an Allentown nightclub owned by Toomey and his brothers, Pat Toomey testified that he delegated the day-to-day running of the establishment to his brother Steven and was not aware of details… ‘For most of the period of ’91 in which Rockin’ Robin’s was opened, I was living and working in Hong Kong’ as a banker, Toomey said.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/9/10]
  • The Allentown Morning Call reminds us, Congressman Toomey was “still pursuing his financial career in New York City” when he and his partners opened the first restaurant. He later moved to Allentown, but left it to his partners to handle day-to-day operations. He then sold all of his shares in the restaurant chain.


  • Voted to cut congressional funding for one of the SBA’s most popular small business lending programs — 7(a) loans — which resulted in fees on small business owners replacing the congressional funding. As expected, following Toomey’s vote, the borrower and lender fees for the 7(a) program were increased — doubling the cost for many small businesses. [HR 4754, #328, 7/7/04]
  • Voted for the Bush Administration’s budgets, which cut funding for the Small Business Administration by 50% from 2000 to 2005. [S.Con.Res. 95, 5/19/04, #198; H Con Res 95, 4/11/03, #141; HCR 353, 3/20/02, #79; H Con Res 83, 5/9/01, #104; HCR 290, 4/13/00, #125]
  • Voted for the Bush tax cuts that directed less than 5% of tax relief at small businesses, but 53% to the top 1% of earners. Because only one percent of small business owners are among the top 1% of earners, under Toomey’s plan 99% of small business owners received almost no tax benefit from the two bills that cost approximately $2 trillion. [HR 1836, 5/26/01, #149]
  • Voted with the Bush Administration to cut funding for Export Assistance Center, which helps small businesses sell to other countries while staying in the United States. [S.Con.Res. 95, 5/19/04, #198]
  • Allowed the Bush Administration to bundle federal contracts to large corporations and not once meet federal requirements for small business set-asides in federal contracting.
  • Chose not to co-sponsor the bi-partisan Small Business Contract Equity Act.
  • Voted against tax credits for small businesses who provided pensions for employees. The amendment also would have allowed a three-year tax credit for small employers of 50 percent of the costs incurred in establishing pension plans and would have offered them a 50 percent credit for certain employer contributions to retirement plans on behalf of non-highly paid workers. [HR 10, House Vote #94, 5/2/01]
  • Supports a regressive flat tax that favors the wealthiest Americans and places an unfair burden on small businesses, many of which would be rendered unable to compete effectively against major corporations. [Morning Call, 3/18/98]


  • Voted to give federal loans to corporations that move offshore [HR 4818, #386, &/15/04]
  • Voted to give benefits to corporations dodging U.S. taxes by moving offshore [HR 4520, #258, 6/17/04]
  • Voted for tax loopholes that export jobs, making it harder for American small businesses to compete. [HR 4520, 10/7/04, #509]
  • According to MSNBC, even plans to partially privatize Social Security, which “could be a windfall for Wall Street, generating billions of dollars in management fees for brokerages and mutual fund companies.” [MSNBC, 12/28/04]
  • Helped write the law deregulating Wall Street which tore down barriers between banks and created the “too big to fail” banks. [HR 10, 7/1/99, #276]
  • Opposed a bill to tax bonuses to executives at bailed out banks. [HR 1586, Vote #143, 3/19/09; Club for Growth email, 3/21/09]
  • Opposed the Credit Card Fair Fee Act and said that preventing credit card companies from changing their rates on their customers “is a fundamental infringement.”
  • Wrote that he believes that foreign subsidies to car manufacturers are a good thing, even though they “would result in fewer American cars sold, and consequently fewer American auto workers.” [The Road to Prosperity, p. 112]
  • Supported NAFTA, which cost Pennsylvania 44,000 jobs, calling it “good for America” [Morning Call, 9/16/93]
  • Argued free trade would create jobs, while acknowledging that workers might be “displaced” [Morning Call, 12/5/99, 1/21/00]

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: