Toomey stops by FOP for USO radio benefit

Toomey spent the week in the state and helped the FOP raise money.

TIMES FILE PHOTO

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey was among those who stopped by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 on Friday, Feb. 16, helping WPHT (1210 AM) raise money for the USO.

Toomey is a supporter of the USO. Locally, Liberty USO is based at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory at Southampton Road and Roosevelt Boulevard.

Liberty USO serves the needs of the active duty, National Guard and reserve military personnel and their families in Pennsylvania and nine counties in South Jersey.

“It’s a little bit of home away from home,” Toomey said.

To make a donation, send or drop off checks to USO of Pennsylvania and Southern NJ, PA National Guard Armory, 2700 Southampton Road, Room 228, Philadelphia, PA 19154.

Toomey spent the week in Pennsylvania, with the Senate returning to session on Monday.

On immigration reform, Toomey believes both sides aren’t too far apart. He voted for a bill that would have given legal status to 1.8 million Dreamers, provided money for a wall and other border security, changed the diversity visa lottery program and ended chain migration, which allows immigrants to sponsor aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives outside their immediate families.

Various bills failed last week.

“I still think this divide can be bridged,” Toomey said.

Toomey thinks the pathway to citizenship provision can eventually lead to a deal.

“It’s extremely generous for the young people known as Dreamers,” he said.

Toomey is also hopeful that the Senate will ultimately pass his legislation that would withhold certain non-law enforcement federal grant funds from “sanctuary cities” — jurisdictions such as Philadelphia that forbid their local law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials, even when they wish to do so.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations and International Union of Police Associations all support the legislation.

Toomey attached his measure as an amendment to last week’s immigration debate and it received 54 votes, short of the required 60 votes.

“Democrats filibustered,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but I’m not giving up.”

Toomey voted for the tax reform package that passed in December. He praised the bill for cutting taxes on more than 90 percent of Americans, adding that passage has led to many businesses increasing hiring and giving their workers pay raises and bonuses.

“It has been very, very constructive,” he said.

Toomey describes the opioid epidemic as a “huge, huge problem,” and was pleased earlier this month when the Senate agreed to put $6 billion in the budget to fight the disease.

The senator would like to see other nations ban the manufacture and sale of the deadly drug fentanyl. If they don’t, he said, the U.S. should withhold aid.

The Stopping Medication Abuse and Protecting Seniors Act, co-sponsored by Toomey, became law. It is intended to prevent abuse of Medicare by stopping Medicare beneficiaries from going to multiple doctors and pharmacies to obtain many prescriptions and large quantities of opioids, which then could be abused or diverted to the black market.

The opioid fight, he said, will continue.

“There’s an awful lot more we have to do.” ••