7/12 Ups & Downs

Hijinks from Harrisburg to DC lead this week’s list.

Down ArrowTom Marino. Congressman Marino is threatening criminal charges against Obama for delaying Obamacare’s employer mandate. Huh? Marino’s party has been laser focused on preventing the implementation of Obamacare. The President handed them a political victory when he agreed to delay. The President looked bad. The business community was happy. But Marino wants more. Congressional Republicans have been criticized for pursuing blanket opposition to the President in lieu of cohesive policy objectives. This does not help their case. But hey, he got a profile in Esquire Magazine!

Up ArrowDown ArrowJoe Pitts. A congressional salary is a healthy $174,000, but that’s less than 2/3rds of Congressman Pitts’ taxpayer-funded income. He pulls in over $90,000 each year in simultaneous pension payments primarily from his 24 years in the state House. Plus he got a @12K lump-sum payout several years ago. ABC 27 highlighted the numbers this week. (Members of Congress Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach and Allyson Schwartz are each also double-dipping for $15-20K in annual pension payments). So Pitts gets an Up for the money (who wouldn’t love to pull in $264K!) but a Down because he was a punching bag all week.

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Down ArrowKathleen Kane. The political rewards of her big decision not to defend the state’s ban on same sex marriage is clear. Already considered a rising star in Democratic politics, her party is wildly cheering her high-profile stand in one of the first legal challenge in a state since the U.S. Supreme Court tossed the Defense of Marriage Act. But she’s also taking lumps (mostly from Republicans but not entirely) accusing her of dereliction of duty. They say like it or not, the AG must defend the law in a similar way as a public defender must represent his or her client even if they believe the client to be guilty. Interestingly, very few Republicans have actually spoken out to defend the same sex marriage ban itself.

Down ArrowState House. They have to interrupt their vacations – sorry, in-district work – and return to Harrisburg on Monday to tie up loose ends. Loose ends meaning the $300M fiscal code. A special shoutout to the Erie County delegation, whose members get to schlep 10 hours round trip. Enjoy the drive!

Up ArrowApril Fools. We have fun every year. Apparently we might have had a little too much fun with this one.
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Tweet of the week: State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila). The first openly gay person elected to the state legislature, Sims celebrated Kane’s decision.

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