4/7 Morning Buzz

President Obama visited Pennsylvania yesterday, in his first visit anywhere since launching his re-election bid. Obama talked energy policy at the Bucks County wind turbine factory, sticking to his recent position that oil, gas and coal are good, but alternative energy is good too. He even talked a bit about the Marcellus shale. We’ll bring you the GOP and Tea Party response later today.

The third and final part of our polling of the Allegheny County races is out, and Controller Mark Flaherty has something to smile about. In our analysis of general election matchups, Flaherty did slightly better than County Council President Rich Fitzgerald vis-a-vis the two Republicans in the race.

Joe Sestak has recently appeared on a number of cable shows to discuss Libya, but his 7th district predecessor and former rival Rep. Curt Weldon has him beat. Weldon is in Libya, and met with Qaddafi to try and convince him to step down. No you know why we call them “Congressman” no matter how long they’ve been out of office.

Currently battling PSEA (public school teachers) and APSCUF (faculty and staff of state-affiliated schools), Governor Corbett is stepping up to engage with AFSCME (state workers). The Gov is now asking them to accept a 4 percent decrease in pay. Yowza! And this after the union rejected a pay freeze.

And Senator Casey is hitting all the right notes in the face of budget shutdown in DC. A few weeks ago, he made headlines insisting that Congress go without pay in the event of a shutdown. This week, he’s joined several legislators endeavoring to ensure that U.S. soldiers continue to get paid in case of a stalemate.

Good morning politicos, and welcome to the buzz.

PoliticsPA Reports

Obama Touts Energy Policy in Bucks County
President Barack Obama paid a visit to a Bucks County wind turbine manufacturing plant Wednesday, marking it his first visit to any state since announcing his run for another term in The White House.

Exclusive Poll: Flaherty Fares Slightly Better Against Either Republican
Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty performs slightly better against either Republican. Flaherty leads County Councilman McCullough 48 percent to 22, and leads businessman D. Raja 48 percent to 21 percent.

Former Rep. Weldon is in Libya
Former PA Republican U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon expressed his feelings about the current situation in Libya as well as his past experience with the Libyan government in an Op-Ed piece for The New York Times yesterday. Weldon had traveled to Libya back in 2004 when he headed a Congressional delegation to support Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s decision to give up Libya’s nuclear powered weapons program. Now, in 2011, Weldon finds himself back in Libya, but only this time Libya is in a worsened state of being.

Santorum Making Moves
Anonymity claims many unseated politicians like ex-Senator Rick Santorum (especially after losing by 18 points) – but with his tendency for ostentatious and outlandish remarks, Santorum has remained near the top of discussion in the 2012 GOP Presidential race.

Sen. Casey Joins Bipartisan Group Of Senators Pushing To Pay Soldiers During Potential Government Shutdown
Sen. Casey has signed on to legislation that would pay soldiers during a government shutdown. Aides in the Obama administration have said that if there is a government shutdown at midnight on Friday, that would fall in the middle of the military’s two week pay cycle. Soldiers would only receive half the amount they would normally get paid and would not be paid the rest until a budget agreement was hammered out. Sen. Casey has been active in shutdown legislation, recently pressing for legislation that would cut off the salaries of members of congress in the event of a shutdown.

4% Pay Cuts for State Workers
A state savings of about $6 million to help lessen the state budget deficit. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Gov. Tom Corbett is now asking state workers to take a 4 percent pay cut in the first year of their next contract after rejecting a union offer for a pay freeze just months ago.

New Marcellus Shale Oversight Rule Adds Barrier for Inspectors
According to Propublica, a recent leaked email has revealed that oil and gas inspectors in the state will no longer be able to cite Marcellus Shale sites without prior consent from DEP top officials. Some are concerned that this will give Gov. Tom Corbett more power to override potential punishments for oil companies.

Headlines

Early Returns: Sam Rohrer: 50-50 On Senate Run
Times-Leader: Supremely Bad? Area Case A Top Court Worse
Capitol Ideas: How Would A Shutdown in Washington Effect Harrisburg?
Philly Weekly: EPA Will (Finally) Look At Fracking’s Effects on Drinking Water
Capitol Ideas: House Republicans Unveil Welfare Reform Proposal
Newsworks: GOP Lawmakers Promote Natural-Gas Buses, Fueling Stations
CBS Pittsburgh: Metcalfe Proposes Pa. Become A Right To Work State
Times-Tribune: Bill Would Make Property Taxes Harder to Raise
Times-Tribune: Local Bath Salts Issue to Recieve National Attention
Times-Tribune: Scranton Mayor Signs Bath Salts Legislation Into Law
Daily News: Electricians Union Plugs Into Campaign Finance Loophole
PhillyClout: Could Police Commissioner Ramsey Be On His Way Out?
PhillyConfidential: Ramsey gets pay bump to stay
Fox Philadelphia: Or Is He Staying in Philadelphia?
Heard in the Hall: T. Milton Street Questions Nutter’s Efforts on School Violence
PhillyClout: Mayor Nutter Set To Endorse Cindy Bass in 8th District Race for City Council
PhillyClout: Savage and Sanchez Backed By Chamber of Commerce
Early Returns: Mayor Ravenstahl Posts Video to Gay Teens
Early Returns: Fitzgerald Only Supporter of Abortion in Exec Race
Inquirer: Obama visits Bucks plant, warns against federal shutdown
Inquirer: Legislators propose new Capitol ethics commission
Inquirer: Ethics board, facing more work under new law, seeks 3 new staffers
AP: Penn State students, alumni protest $ cut plan
Post-Gazette: Range Resources, Mount Pleasant Township at odds over well sites
Post-Gazette: Corbett seeks 4% pay cut for state employees
Post-Gazette: Blue Dog Democrats less blue than after Novermber’s elections
Citizens’ Voice: House GOP wants more natural gas buses, trucks
Citizens’ Voice: Bills would make it harder for school boards to hike property taxes
Citizens’ Voice: Leighton quiet on Greco lawsuit
Citizens’ Voice: Study promotes natural gas  vehicle fleets
Times Leader: Ross looks to restore respect for bench
Post-Gazette: Group says asthma cases will rise if EPA rules blocked
Post-Gazette: House bills would push vehicles to use natural gas

Opinions

The Big Tent: Huge Changes in Entitlements Could Be A Political Liability for the GOP
Times-Tribune: High Court Validates School Choice
John Baer, Daily News: Obama’s reelection is far from guaranteed
Baer Growls: Shut Er Down
Dick Polman, Newsworks Editorial: The Tea Party Pinata
Citizens’ Voice: School mergers could help offset state budget cuts

April 7th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Playbook | No Comments