Schwartz: “Medicare is the reason we will win Pa”
By Geoff Middleberg, Contributing Writer
Rep. Allyson Schwartz spoke this morning with reporters at the centrist think-tank Third Way. The congresswoman covered a range of topics, most notably she said their is hope for the Democrats during Pennsylvania’s redistricting process.
Rep. Schwartz said, “I don’t think the legislature can protect their 2010 wins because they have a lot of incumbents to protect.” She added, “You might be able to add some GOP votes but there will always be swing districts in Pa.”
As the recruitment chairwoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Schwartz downplayed the role redistricting plays in recruiting candidates nationally. She insisted that local issues and incumbents whose policies do not match those of their constituents are better drivers of recruitment than how district lines are drawn.
It should come as no surprise that Schwartz is confident of the Democrats chances in Pa. in 2012. She said, “Medicare is the reason we will win Pa.” She was referring to the Ryan budget, which Democrats have been arguing would hurt seniors. The congresswoman underscored the fact that Pa. has the 2nd oldest electorate in the nation behind Florida and that the Medicare debate will be especially important to Pennsylvania’s voters.
The Congresswoman would like to see any changes to Medicare, entitlements in general or extensive tax code revisions go through the committee process, not be a part of the debt ceiling negotiations. On the debt ceiling negotiations, she singled out Sen. Toomey when she said, “Sen. Toomey was wrong when he said that we should pay our debters in China before we pay our Social Security beneficiaries and the military.” She is hopeful that both parties will come together and hammer out a compromise.
She is urging potential candidates to raise as much money as they can and she is even comfortable with Democrats creating “Super PACs”, independent groups who raise money for candidates. These “Super PACs” have come under criticism by some who believe that the groups are not transparent about who their donors are.
Although she is comfortable with these “Super PACs”, she said, “I would like to see the rules changed particularly about transparency so we know who is giving to these groups.”
PA State Budget
On the state level, the Congresswoman took the opportunity to take a swipe at Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget. She said, “Governor Corbett’s unpopularity is based on his education policies such as cutting basic education, supporting vouchers and his proposed cuts to Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. While he walks away from the state universities, he is fine with tuition going up.”
Schwartz served nearly a decade in the PA Senate before winning her congressional seat.
Rep. Schwartz is supportive of Marcellus Shale drilling but does not understand the Governor’s position on the impact fee. She pointed out that gas companies have said they would be supportive of an extraction fee, and yet, the Governor has repeatedly said he would not support such a fee. The representative does, however, want to ensure that natural gas drilling is safe, so that in her words, “we can make sure that the water downstream [from the wells] is safe.”