The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 11, 2013

After meeting with prez, Toomey ‘not overly, but more optimistic’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — WASHINGTON —  U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey was among Republicans invited to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday afternoon, and when he emerged from the meeting, he said he was more optimistic “than I have been in some time” that a solution to the government shutdown and impending default could be resolved.

“We had a wide range of discussions about the situation and how we can get out of it,” Toomey said of the 90-minute meeting. “I was never one of those who thought you should tie raising the debt ceiling, or a government shutdown, with defunding Obamacare. Let me be clear, though: I am against Obamacare and think it was a bad idea. But it is clear to me that he has a different point of view. And, after all, he is still the president, and he is not going to sign away his hallmark legislation.”

Toomey said, however, that “It is very hopeful that the president is engaged with us. That’s a very good sign. I’m not overly optimistic, but I am more optimistic now than I have been in some time.”

Toomey said he believes Obama might be amenable to repealing some of the more “egregious aspects of his health-care plan.”

The medical device tax, for instance, is something that two of three Senate Democrats would vote to repeal, Toomey said.

“And I believe that the president is prepared to acknowledge that this tax is not central to Obamacare,” he said.

During the meeting a number of ideas were discussed. “It’s a start, when lines of communications open,” Toomey said. “There’s a lot of conversations happening now.”

Asked to describe the president’s attitude in the meeting, Toomey said: “He was not dismissive. He listened and we talked about several approaches to breaking the deadlock. And after the exchanges I am not dissuaded from believing that we can do that.”

Any continuing resolution that is finally passed will cover both raising the debt ceiling and re-opening the government, Toomey said.

Noting that some in his party were calling for a short-term debt ceiling agreement, Toomey said he disagreed with that idea.

“I hope, I would prefer, a long-term solution to this,” he said, “so that we don’t have to face the same issues several weeks from now.”

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