Casey, Toomey accentuate the positive at Philly forum

     U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, left, and Pat Toomey say they have worked together on a number of issues, including this trip to inspect flooding damage in 2011. (AP file photo)

    U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, left, and Pat Toomey say they have worked together on a number of issues, including this trip to inspect flooding damage in 2011. (AP file photo)

    The big question after last week’s midterm elections is: Will President Obama and a Republican Congress work together? Or will the Washington logjam stay in place?

    “Breaking the gridlock” was the theme of a talk between Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican,  which took place as part of a fundraiser in Philadelphia for the government watchdog group Committee of Seventy.

    Toomey said that Democrats and Republicans could end the stalemate by starting small.

    “Let’s start with modest things we can agree on. Let’s approve the Keystone Pipeline … let’s repeal the medical device tax. Let’s exempt small banks from the Dodd-Frank regulations that never should have applied to them in the first place,” he said. “Let’s start having some successes, and then let’s build on that. Sometimes I think success begets success.”

    Casey, meanwhile, said members of Congress can encourage bipartisanship by being less “categorical.”

    “Try not to be categorical to the extent that you can. Try not to be ideological,” he said. “You can criticize one element of the president’s strategy on ISIS without saying some of the things that some people have said about … that he doesn’t care about national security.”

    Toomey also said he and Casey work across the aisle more than some might think.

    “Whenever there’s a disagreement, it’s in the news,” he said. “But we’ve worked together and gotten 10 judges confirmed to the federal bench when there have been vacancies. That is a slow and painstaking, but really important process, and it’s worked very, very well in my view.”

    Steve Highsmith, an anchor for PHL17, moderated the conversation.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.