POLS ON THE STREET: Fattah Sees December Deal To Cut The Deficit

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CONGRESSMAN Chaka Fattah says a major deal will be cut to close the US deficit ... but only after the November election.

STATE REP. Rosita Youngblood had an office-warming to welcome constituents into her new facility. She and her staff were joined by State Rep. Ronald Waters. From left are Cherise Wall, office manager; Kayla P. Hodge, intern; David Tolentino, legal assistant; Antoinette Arter, Germantown EARN Center; Waters; Youngblood; Dayne Cofer, legal assistant; and Rochelle Barabin, legal assistant. Photos by Solomon Williams

As the national debt moves into front and center of public attention during the fall election campaigns, Congressman Chaka Fattah predicts major action will place – right after they’re over.
Speaking at Temple University Monday, the Congressman said a committee is already working to plan dramatic legislation to reduce the Federal deficit. The package will involve a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, all of which are guaranteed to make some people unhappy. As a result, he said, no legislators will take any stands in public until after the November election. Look for a lame-duck session of Congress in December to take bold steps.
Fattah, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, is seeking the chair of that powerful body, since its current Chairman, David Obey, is retiring. He is opposed by Washington Congressman Norm Dicks.
MEGA EYEING MAYORAL RACE
Will Mega, well known in political circles in this town, may be among those whose names will appear in the Democrat primary for May 2011. He’s announced he is  forming an exploratory committee at the moment.
“After working as chief of staff for State Rep. Kenyatta Johnson, and working for Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. as field director, and most recently knocking at doors throughout  the 192nd Legislative Dist., I know first-hand what concerns Philadelphians,” said Mega.
“Crime continues to plague every neighborhood. Jobs are promised, but never ever appear. African American communities are specifically plagued by a broken criminal-justice system and we are saddled with an educational  system that continues to promote failure. We are literally committing a genocide on an entire race of young Afro-Americans.”
By pulling together poor and underprivileged people — Black, white, Latino and Asian — “who are underserved and make up the majority of people in the Democratic Party who normally do not go out to vote,” he said, Mega believes he can build a  block of support that will be hard to overcome.
“These people have signed off on the political process until now. My campaign is directed at them and I believe they will support me as their champion in the primary battle next year if I decide to enter,” Mega stated.
Mega added, “I am  encouraging the underserved and common man to visit my web site which is www.willmega.com to join me in forming an organization that will play a major political role in the Year 2011.”
Mega, who will be 38 in August, is still considered one of Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelors.
TEA PARTY MAY CUT LENTZ A BREAK
A rightwing splinter candidate has emerged in the 7th Congressional Dist. It’s a development that brings smiles to the faces of Democrats and scowls to Republicans in Delaware Co., which incumbent Congressman Joe Sestak is vacating to run for US Senate.
Jim Schneller, a birther whose positions generally echo the Tea Party movement, filed more than 7,000 signatures to get on the ballot on the “American Congress Party” line. He claims only sparse funding and it is unclear if he has the resources to mount a substantial campaign.
However, even in the Primary there were rumblings of discontent in some quarters that endorsed Republican candidate Pat Meehan, a former US Attorney, wasn’t conservative enough. If this sentiment endures into the fall, and if Schneller draws any support from Tea Party activists, this can only hurt Meehan and help State Rep. Bryan Lentz, who is the Democrat nominee to replace Sestak.
The only cloud in this picture is a report that a Lentz aide did help Schneller get quite a few signatures for his nominating petition.
TOOMEY’S EDGE REMAINS UNCHANGED
Republican Pat Toomey continues to hold a small lead over Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania’s US Senate race.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Pennsylvania Voters shows Toomey earning 45% support, while Sestak picks up 39% of the vote. Six percent prefer another candidate in the race, and 10% are undecided.
That’s little changed from two weeks ago.
Sixty-six percent of Pennsylvania voters regard Toomey as politically conservative, and 42% place his views in the mainstream. Twenty-seven percent see him as an extremist, with 31% undecided.
Forty-five percent feel Sestak is politically liberal, while 27% characterize him as a moderate. But 39% regard his views an extreme, while nearly as many (37%) think his views are in the mainstream. But roughly one in four voters (23%) aren’t sure.
Sixty-eight percent of conservative voters in the state support Toomey, while 86% of liberals favor Sestak. Moderates are closely divided between the two candidates.
Twenty percent of Pennsylvania voters hold a Very Favorable opinion of Toomey, while 12% view him Very Unfavorably. Sestak is viewed Very Favorably by 19% and Very Unfavorably by 18%.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
The new survey finds Sestak a point closer to Toomey than he was two weeks ago. While that’s not a significant change, it’s enough to move Pennsylvania from Leans Republican to Toss-Up status in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.
This statewide telephone survey of 750 Likely Voters in Pennsylvania was conducted on Jul. 28, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Support for Sestak has remained in the 36% to 40% range in matchups with Toomey back to February, except for a brief surge after his mid-May victory over incumbent Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate Primary. During that same time frame, Toomey has received 42% to 47% of the vote.
Toomey picks up 76% of the Republican vote, while Sestak earns 63% support from voters in his party. The Democrat holds a modest lead among voters not affiliated with either of the two major parties.
Pennsylvania voters continue to view the economic future with pessimism. Thirty-four percent say their personal finances are good or excellent, while 20% rate their finances as poor. But, tellingly, while 17% say those finances are getting better, over half (52%) say they are getting worse.
Unchanged from two weeks ago is the finding 46% of voters in the state approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, while 54% disapprove. This is in line with voter sentiments nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
SESTAK KEEPS RANGEL’S CASH AT ARM’S LENGTH
In another move, Sestak has donated $12,000 in campaign contributions that he received from embattled New York Congressman Charlie Rangel to a foundation that funds child cancer research.
Sestak, who is running for the Senate, said last week he had decided to donate the money to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The cause hits close to home for Sestak, whose daughter battled a brain tumor as a toddler.
Sestak has come under fire for keeping the cash from Rangel, who was charged by a special ethics subcommittee with 13 counts of violating House rules and Federal laws.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee pounced on Sestak and a handful of other Democratic Senate hopefuls for accepting and failing to return contributions from Rangel. Sestak said he decided not to keep the money amid news reports that Rangel may have cut a deal with members of the ethics panel.
“I thought it was the right thing at this time,” he said, adding that a settlement “meant that some acceptance of responsibility was being done by Mr. Rangel.”
In turn, Sestak’s campaign staff began to hammer Toomey for accepting a campaign donation from national conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who has made controversial remarks criticizing unmarried women. Sestak has urged Toomey to return Schlafly’s contribution.
GOP’ERS HOLD GET-OUT-THE-VOTE MEETING
The City’s State-sponsored Republican group held a training session at a morning-and-afternoon session at SmokeEaters’ Pub in the Northeast. Volunteers turned out to hear how best to bring out the vote.
CASEY TAPPED AS KIDS’ CHAMP
Nurse-Family Partnership®, a leading nonprofit organization addressing the needs of low-income, first-time parents and their children, honored US Sen. Robert Casey as a champion of home visitation in support of America’s children.
Casey is one of several Members of Congress who were recognized on Capitol Hill for their contributions to improving the lives of children by championing the Maternal, Infant, & Early Childhood Home Visitation Program. The Federal program provides $1.5 billion over five years to implement or expand home-visitation.

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