What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 10, 2018

Senator Toomey RESPONDS To Another Letter (And Deflects Off The Real Question To BS Me)

Yesterday, I received via the Post Office, another Toomey response letter.

Dated February 21 of this year, it begins thusly:
Thank you for contacting me about the recently-enacted budget agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123). I appreciate hearing from you.
Still good to know he appreciates hearing from me. I guess I'll have to keep writing to him. And let me take a moment to encourage anyone reading this to contact Senator Toomey - or any/all of their own elected representatives - with any concerns they might have. Snail mail offers the best chance of a response or so I've heard.

Anyway, let's go see if we can find out what letter of mine triggered this response from Toomey and/or his office.  Toomey writes in his fourth paragraph:
Specific to your concerns, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA18) funded the government through March 23, 2018, while suspending the debt limit until March of next year.
Bipartisan Budget Act? When did I ask about the Bipartisan Budget Act? What is the BBA18 anyway?

Since Toomey's letter is dated the February 21st, we can safely assume it's not a response to any of my letters written after that date, time being a strict progression of cause to effect (on the other hand, some think that time, seen from a non-linear and or a non-subjective viewpoint, is more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey "stuff". We report you decide.) 

There may be a clue here. It's a pamphlet put out by the American Academy of Family Physicians.  This is from the first paragraph:
After a brief government shutdown, on February 9, 2018, the Senate and House passed the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA18, Public Law 115-123), funding the government through March 23, 2018. The spending package was strongly bipartisan, passing in the Senate 71-28 and in the House 245-182. The bill includes many important health provisions, and the AAFP released a statement from Dr. Michael Munger, AAFP President, praising many aspects of the bill prior to its passage. The AAFP also joined five other frontline physician organizations in releasing a joint statement urging the bill’s passage.
Wait, so the BBA18 was passed in response to the brief gov'ment shut down in February. That's what Toomey's talking about? When did any of this come up in any of my letters?

You simply won't believe where. It's here, hidden in Letter 45 - where I open with this:
I was going to ask you about the government shutdown but since it's more or less resolved at this point, I'll move on (but I mean really, the GOP controls the White House AND The Senate AND The House of Representatives. How is it that you couldn't pass a budget on time? YOU OWN THE STORE.)
And that's all I had to say about that. I then quickly moved to the actual reason for writing that particular letter:
No, Senator. I am going to have to ask you about Stephanie Clifford (who, as you know, works in adult film industry under the name "Stormy Daniels").
And then here's the question:
Senator, let me ask you this week's question. Given your solid standing among the nation's social conservatives (100% rating from the Christian Coalition, for example) would you still have voted for Donald Trump in 2016 had you known that 1) he'd had unprotected sex with a woman who wasn't his wife and 2) paid her off in order for the public not to know about it, especially since that pay off might have violated FEC rules regarding an "unreported in-kind contribution" to the Trump Campaign?
As politically cynical as I am, it's completely shocking to me that Senator Pat Toomey and/or his office would deflect from that set of questions with what amounts to a full page ad regarding his disapproval of a bipartisan budget deal (and here's an interesting bit: the no votes were also bipartisan as ten Democrats and one Independent - Bernie Sanders of Vermont - all voted against).

Let me ask you, Senator. Did you really just try to avoid answering a question about your support of Donald Trump - a man who paid for the silence of the adult film actress he slept with - in order to distract a constituent with some BS about your objection to too much gov'ment spending??

Say it ain't so, Senator. Say it ain't so.

If I'm wrong, Senator, drop me a line with what I got wrong. You know the address.

Text of the letter:
Thank you for contacting me about the recently-enacted budget agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123). I appreciate hearing from you.

Since coming to the U.S. Senate, of of my highest priorities has been reining in our nation's unsustainable deficits and spending. The United States has run persistent budget deficits since 2001 due to rising levels of federal spending, with this year's spending expected to exceed $4 trillion. As a result, our national debt is now more than $20 trillion. The consequences of since fiscal mismanagement will be devastating to future generations who will be saddled with debt and a government they can no longer afford.

The federal treasury does not suffer from a lack of tax revenue. Excessive federal spending that continues to grow at a faster pace than our economy is the primary cause of persistent federal budget deficits. Federal revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has equaled 17.4% over the last fifty years, nearly three points below the average level of federal spending. Both prior to and after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, spending growth is projected to significantly outpace revenue into the future. It is long past time for the federal government to live within its means by curbing runaway spending.

Specific to your concerns, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA18) funded the government through March 23, 2018, while suspending the debt limit until March of next year. The bill also removed statutory caps on discretionary spending that were imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 - the fourth time in the past six years that Congress has done so. While this budget agreement propose a badly needed spending increase to strengthen national security, rebuild our neglected military, and honor our commitment to veterans, it unfortunately adds $131 billion in non-security spending, without any real, meaningful offsetting spending reductions.

On February 9, 2018, the House and Senate both agreed to BBA18. Although I voted against this budget deal, the legislation passed by a 71 to 28 vote in the Senate and was signed into law later that day. This budget agreement failed to address our overspending problem - in fact, it makes the problem worse by increasing spending.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

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