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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey on State of Current Administration

I wrote to the Senator expressing specific concerns and received back a far more wide ranging letter than I expected. Some of you may find this interesting as well.

Dear ______:

Thank you for contacting me about the administration of President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump officially assumed the office of President of the United States. This office confers broad power over the execution of domestic and foreign policy and the administration of federal funding and assistance. That power, in turn, entails a solemn responsibility to faithfully represent the values of the United States and always prioritize the interests of its citizens.

While I supported the Democratic nominee for President, I nonetheless remained hopeful that President Trump would enter office seeking common ground on areas of shared interest. While much of President Trump’s rhetoric from the campaign concerned me, there were a number of areas where I believed we might be able to find common ground, among them trade enforcement, infrastructure investment, protecting pensions for hard working Pennsylvanians and investing in jobs and growth, especially in areas that have not benefitted from the uneven economic gains of recent years. While his presidency is still young, thus far I have been disappointed by the President’s actions since he took office.

President Trump campaigned on a promise to be a voice for middle-class Americans. During the speech that launched his campaign, President Trump promised to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.” He repeated this sentiment throughout the campaign. Yet, now that he is in office, he has appointed Congressman Tom Price as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, someone who supports turning Medicare into a voucher program and drastically cutting Medicaid by transforming its funding into block grants. He also appointed former Congressman Mick Mulvaney as the White House budget director, a man who called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

During the campaign, President Trump spoke about the crisis of drug addiction that affects so many communities across the country, including in Pennsylvania. Yet, his budget blueprint would eliminate the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which distributes key grants and assistance to combat the opioid epidemic. Similarly, repeal of the Affordable Care Act and block granting Medicaid, both of which have been suggested by the President or his senior staff, would dramatically decrease the ability of Pennsylvanians to obtain drug treatment.

President Trump has also challenged the fundamental structure and values of our democracy. He has repeatedly attacked both the press and the courts, two institutions crucial to the proper functioning of our system of checks and balances. He attacked a federal judge personally and referred to the press as the “enemy of the American people” simply for doing their jobs. His executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations made our nation less safe, according to a bipartisan group of 100 security experts, and was contrary to our values and Constitution, a fact that led multiple federal courts to rule against the administration in lawsuits to block the order.

While President Trump’s actions since assuming office raise serious concerns, I remain eager to work with the President or anyone else on matters of critical importance to Pennsylvania. The stakes for Pennsylvania residents and communities are too high for inaction. We need to focus on creating and protecting jobs and growing the economy. We need to redouble our efforts to protect and strengthen crucial programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We need to focus on 21st century infrastructure to promote economic growth, like building strong roads and bridges and increasing access to high speed internet. And we need to increase our focus on keeping Americans safe and promoting stability and security across the globe.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or any other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,
Bob Casey
United States Senator

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