Sen. Bob Casey joins ABC27 for live town hall

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Sen. Bob Casey says one of the best ways to reduce abortions and unintended pregnancies is to make sure women have access to health care and family planning.

Casey attended a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at ABC27 News. The first question he was asked was if he shares the same views on abortion as his father, former governor Robert Casey.

“Taxpayer dollars can’t pay for abortions and you know that, but I think that often, even on an issue that’s as divisive as the issue of abortion, I think there’s a lot of common ground where both parties should try to work together to help pregnant women,” he said.

Another viewer from the live audience asked the Democratic senator from Scranton about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“What we should do is preserve what’s working,” he said. “It’s good that we have 20 million more people with health care. That’s better for all of us, including them. 150 million-plus Americans have employer coverage – they’re getting protections they never had before with regard to pre-existing conditions – and annual lifetime limits are no longer a bar, discrimination against women in our health care system is no longer legal because of the act.”

“We should preserve those kinds of provisions and work on the areas where I think there’s some common ground,” he said.

Another viewer asked Casey what he’s doing to address the rising cost of a college education. He said one way to do that is with legislation to cap interest rates on college loans.

“We also have to say to colleges and universities, you’ve got to be part of the solution, not just jacking up the cost of tuition or other costs that families have to pay,” he said. “We’ve got to engage our college university leaders to get to the point of helping us reduce that monthly payment, reduce the indebtedness over time.”

Casey told the audience he’s against using public funds to start private, for-profit charter schools.

“We should also add to our list of agenda items early learning and prekindergarten education,” he said. “If kids learn more now, they’re going to earn more later.”

Another audience member asked Casey if he would support legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic.

“You’re right, they have got to help us with this. They have got to make sure that they’re not overprescribing,” he said. “Whether it’s the prescription drug companies or whether it’s the medical profession, too many of these crises land on the doorstep of law enforcement who are not trained and don’t have the resources to deal with every person they encounter, and often law enforcement is the first line of defense.”

Casey was also asked about his votes for three pieces of gun control legislation and his stance on the Second Amendment. The legislation included expanded background checks, limits on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on military-style weapons.

“All three, I believe, were common sense measures that will have no impact on law-abiding gun owners and will respect not just the Second Amendment, but a tradition in a state like ours where people enjoy hunting and fishing or they purchase a gun for protection,” he said. “What we have to do though is keep guns out of hands of people that we all agree should not have them.”

ABC27 has offered a similar invitation to Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.


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