White House Snubs Casey
President Donald Trump invited Democratic and Republican Congress members to watch him sign a jobs-training bill Tuesday but snubbed the Democratic U.S. senator from Scranton who worked hard on the legislation.
Sen. Bob Casey, whose election opponent the president will stump for tonight in Wilkes-Barre Twp., wasn’t invited to the Oval Office to see Trump sign the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act into law, said Jacklin Rhoads, Casey’s deputy communications director.
“While it is disappointing the White House chose to play politics with this bill signing, Sen. Casey is pleased he was able to work in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize this important legislation for the first time in 12 years, ensuring students and workers have the skills they need to get family-sustaining jobs,” Rhoads said in an emailed statement.
She declined to make Casey available for an interview.
Efforts to obtain a comment from the White House were unsuccessful. Pennlive.com first reported the snub.
Trump is scheduled to campaign at 7 tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, the Hazleton Republican running against Casey for the Senate.
Casey was the bill’s Democratic co-author. The bipartisan bill aims to overhaul education and training for the first time since 2006 for students interested in technical careers.
By all accounts, Casey, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversaw the bill, worked long and hard on the bill. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and the committee chairman, credited Casey for working with Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, to come up with a bipartisan compromise.
“They have worked hard to reach a bipartisan result and should receive the recognition they deserve for it,” Alexander said, according to an online transcript of his Senate comments in the Congressional Record. “I would also like to thank Ivanka Trump for her leadership in helping create an environment where we could get a result.”
Rhoads said the White House invited U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, of Washington, the top-ranked Democrat on the HELP committee, but not Casey. Murray did not attend the ceremony, but let Casey know she was invited, Rhoads said.
“I don’t think it was unintentional,” Rhoads said of the White House failing to invite Casey. “He worked very hard on this bill. He wishes he could have been there.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who co-authored the House version of the bill with Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre County, also was invited and attended the ceremony. Both are in a photo of Trump holding up the bill. Barletta co-sponsored Thompson’s bill and voted for it, but was not at the ceremony.
In a statement from his campaign, David Jackson, Barletta’s campaign spokesman, questioned Casey’s unhappiness at the snub.
“Bob Casey has spent the past 18 months claiming to ‘lead the resistance’ and calling for the president to resign, but now he wants an invitation to the White House to stand alongside the president for a photo op?” Jackson asked.
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