Dinner and a Filibuster: Pat Toomey’s Busy Day

Senator Pat Toomey has been very busy. He dined with President Barack Obama, stood on the Senate floor to join Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster, appeared on Fox and Friends, and gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation.

Toomey was one of twelve Republican US senators to join the President for dinner and to discuss the country’s current fiscal state.  Toomey indicated earlier in the day that he planned to focus on tax reform and the structural reform of mandatory healthcare programs.

Toomey Heritage
Toomey speaks at the heritage foundation. Image from that organization’s livestream of the event

Prior to leaving the Capitol for dinner, Sen. Toomey joined Sen. Paul (R-KY) on the Senate floor to aid him in his filibustering of President Obama’s CIA director nominee John Brennan.  Toomey spoke on the potential uses of military drones and expressed doubt that they would be ever be used domestically.

“When we’re talking about American noncombatants on American soil, I think the starting point ought to be we’re not going to do that, and the onus ought to be on whoever has got an explanation for when and whether and why and under what circumstance we would, and that ought to be debated very, very carefully and thoroughly and until such time, I think it would ought to be easy to acknowledge that this is not going to take place,” he said.

“And if we can’t get a direct answer to that question, then I have to say I think the—the Senator from Kentucky is—is performing an important service in putting a spotlight on this, and I commend him for doing it and I thank him for doing it.”

After his brief appearance on the floor, Toomey travelled to the Jefferson Hotel to join the President and some colleagues. After dinner, Toomey—who had steak—described Obama’s tone as “very cordial and very constructive.”  Reports indicate that the president and GOP senators did not discuss Sen. Paul’s ongoing filibuster.

In a brief interview with Fox and Friends Thursday morning, Toomey implied that the President’s tone had changed from “confrontational” to something more conciliatory. “I’m hoping this is a new approach on the part of the president, to reach out, to have some dialogue, [and] to find some common ground,” Toomey said.

After dinner Toomey returned to the Capitol, appearing on the Senate floor just before midnight to again offer support to the Kentucky senator in his 12 hour filibuster. Toomey said that Paul’s questions for the Attorney General were “very clear.”

Alluding to Bush-era concerns about indefinite detention of American citizens, Sen. Toomey stated that such detention is “pretty tame compared to being destroyed by a drone.” The senator also asserted that there an “ongoing discussion” regarding the uses of drones and asked whether or not the Obama Administration believes it has the authority to carry out a lethal strike with a drone against and American citizen on American soil.

Senate rules stipulate that a filibuster can continue as long as the filibustering senator holds the floor. The only way that another senator can be allowed to speak is to yield to another senator for the purpose of a question. For this reason, Toomey had to end his statements with a question, in the style of Jeopardy.

Senator Toomey said he was “very proud” of Sen. Paul and that the filibuster forced the Senate to renew their focus.

Sen. Bob Casey, who did not participate in the filibuster, co-signed a letter with fellow Democrats requesting a vote to close debate on Brennan’s nomination.

In a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, which was planned prior to Sen. Paul’s filibuster, Toomey focused primarily on the need for spending cuts and entitlement reform. He criticized President Obama and the administration’s spending.

His office didn’t respond to a question about whether Toomey had changed his speech in any way following his dinner with Obama.

“No big government program can continue indefinitely to grow at a rate faster than the economy,” the senator said, “government is dependent upon the economy, not the other way around.”  Regarding entitlement spending, Toomey said, “If you care about [Medicare and Social Security], then you have got to reform them!”

Despite the fiscal agenda Toomey departed from the planned remarks to question the president’s drone policy.

“Do they or do they not believe they have the authority to kill American citizens on American soil that are noncombatants?[…] the Administration refuses to acknowledge that they don’t have the authority to blow someone up on American soil.”

7 Responses

  1. Toomey has been doing a lot of Tea Party like things that are sure to come up later when he seeks re-election. Among the disappointments are his joining with other GOP radical senators to kill the UN Disabilities Treaty on totally indefensible, specious grounds. His vote on ending the debate on Chuck Hagel and his joining in the cause of Rand Paul are also not helpful. 2016 is a Presidential year and he’s going to have to tread lightly. Republican Senators with long term success in PA were of a much more moderate stripe. Same goes for our current governor. He’s really asking for it in the next election with the company he’s been keeping and the causes he’s been supporting like voter ID and the proposed change to the electoral college voting allocation system, all transparent attempts to fix the election game in the GOP’s favor.

  2. Pat Toomey’s appearance at Saturday morning’s Lehigh County breakfast was a brilliant. He addressed 263 Lehigh County Republican voters and proved why he is ” The Guy”. Pat Toomey is the The Forgotten Taxpayers Best Friend Forever.

    County Chair Wayne Woodman hit a home run with his invitation to Ben Shapiro. Wayne Woodman is a fundraiser and again proves why he is best County Chair in Pennsylvania. His remarks were substantive and the plan for Lehigh County.

    Scott Ott for Lehigh County executive was shaking hands as was unendorsed candidate for Superior Court Rob Wyda and endorsed establishment insider Vic Stabile.

    Republican Primary 21 May

  3. Pat was also busy after the filibuster, running to speak @ a conference in Florida prior to flying back to Allentown so that he could speak on Saturday to the Lehigh Valley GOP’s Annual [Lincoln Day] Breakfast [prior to Ben Shapiro]…and then to attend a championship basketball game in which his daughter was participating.

    Notwithstanding noisemaking manifest as leftist-barbs, he is increasingly a formidable force for carefully-articulated conservatism in D.C., earning “points” for competence and delivery @ a time of maximal acrimony; note, for example, his having participated in the Super-Committee and having provided independent judgments before/during/after.

    Emphasized in his remarks on Saturday regarding the Drone-strike issue [absent from the above piece] is his explicitly-expressed concern that the Constitution’s Bill of Rights [e.g., trial-by-jury] could become subject to abrogation by a regal-POTUS; it is this type of principled, legal posturing that will continue to enhance his reputation among those who are not reflex-D…when he runs for re-election in three [short] years.

  4. Toomey’s a Wall Street insider who panders to the far right. Watch him move to the center as 2016 approaches.

  5. Toomey has to be worried about 2016. It is a Presidential year and the Dems show up for those elections. By 2016, the Tea Party may not even be a force at all. He is hard line right winger on many issues. That won’t resonate well with a moderate to left electorate in 2016.

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