Sestak and Toomey spar over new federal aid bill

    Pennsylvania Democrats are chastising Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey for opposing a federal aid bill that would send $600 million to the commonwealth. Toomey faces Democrat Joe Sestak in the November election for the seat being vacated by Senator Arlen Specter. Toomey’s campaign defends his position.

    Governor Rendell warned of 12,000 public employee layoffs if the federal medical assistance extension didn’t pass. The bill has cleared the Senate, and is in front of the House, but Toomey calls the measure irresponsible and wasteful.

    Democratic Party Chair Jim Burn says Toomey doesn’t care about the public jobs that would have been cut, had the bill stalled.

    “This is an indication, or a barometer, of what Mr. Toomey would be like if he were in the Senate,” Burns says. “His voting and his decision making would have draconian results on the men and women of the commonwealth. It shows a disconnect.”

    Toomey’s campaign manager, Mark Harris, says the bill will add to the deficit.

    Democratic leaders label the Senate bill as budget neutral, since it closes tax loopholes and lays the groundwork for a scaling back of federal food stamps.

    But Harris calls that a “budget sleight of hand,” and says Washington can’t keep writing checks to fill states’ deficits.

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