By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing Writer
Senator Bob Casey knows that his re-election will hinge on one thing: the economy. Casey showed this weekend at the Democratic State Committee meeting he knows how to speak the language. Even to a partisan audience, all of Casey’s remarks focused on the economy and jobs.
“We have to get back to focusing on jobs and the economy principally and… we’re doing everything possible to fight battles for folks who we have always tried to fight battles for, workers and vulnerable Americans,” Casey said in an interview with PoliticsPA on Friday.
Casey added that the proposed Republican spending cuts would affect public safety and have a negative impact on the unemployment rate. The House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a budget with $58 billion in spending cuts to non security discretionary spending though Casey did not refer to Ryan or his plan specifically.
Casey was quick to point out the most recent jobs report, in which the national unemployment rate dropped to 9% and the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania for December also dropped to 8.5%.
The GOP is optimistic about their chances to defeat Casey, given the success that they had in Pennsylvania in 2010; however according to an article in the National Journal, they may suffer from the lack of a high profile candidate who is willing to commit to a Senate race. Former Senator Rick Santorum is presumed to be running for President, so he would be unavailable.
The more interesting story next year may be if the GOP is successful in turning the Senate race into a referendum on President Obama. Casey declined to say whether he thinks being close to the President is a positive or a negative, but it seems safe to guess he will not be running many commercials promoting the health care bill more commonly known as Obamacare.
“I have not seen a credible, effective Republican strategy to create jobs in the last two years,” Casey said about the Republicans economic ideas. The Hill reported that the budget Paul Ryan was proposing would be dead on arrival in the Senate, but that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was willing to work with Republicans to produce a budget by the March 4 deadline.
If that deadline is not met, temporary spending bills would have to be passed in order to keep services that the federal government provides functioning.