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Patrick Toomey

Pat Toomey
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Bob Casey, Jr.
Preceded by Arlen Specter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Paul McHale
Succeeded by Charlie Dent
Personal details
Born Patrick Joseph Toomey
(1961-11-17) November 17, 1961 (age 52)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kris Toomey
Children Bridget Toomey
Patrick Toomey
Duncan Toomey
Residence Zionsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B., 1984)[1]
Religion Roman Catholic
Toomey for Senate

Patrick Joseph "Pat" Toomey (born November 17, 1961)[2] is an American businessman and politician. He is currently the junior United States Senator for Pennsylvania,[3] and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, Toomey served as a United States Representative for three terms, but he did not seek a fourth in compliance with a pledge he had made while running for office in 1998.[4] He also served as president of the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative 501(c)4 organization.

Toomey attended school at La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island before earning an B.A. in government from Harvard College. He was employed first by Chemical Bank and subsequently Morgan, Grenfell & Co. beginning in 1984 and 1986, respectively, until resigning from the latter in 1991.[5]

Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, Toomey served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district from 1999 to 2005. He narrowly lost the Republican primary for United States Senate in 2004. From 2005 to 2009, he served as president of the Club for Growth.[6] After becoming the Republican nominee for the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Pennsylvania, Toomey was elected to the seat on November 2, 2010, defeating his Democratic opponent, retired Admiral and Congressman Joe Sestak.

In the U.S. Senate, Toomey serves on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on the Budget, the Committee on Finance, and the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, among others including several subcommittees. In 2011, he also served on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. In April 2012, Toomey was named to succeed South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint as chairman of the United States Senate Steering Committee, a Senate Republican caucus.

Early life, education, and early career

Toomey was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Mary Ann (née Andrews), of Hartford, CT and Patrick Joseph Toomey, of Brockton, MA . He was raised by Catholic parents, and was the third of six children. His father was a union worker who laid cable for the Narragansett Electric Company, and his mother worked as a part-time secretary at St. Martha's, a Catholic church.[7] Toomey was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and attained the organization's highest rank, Eagle Scout.[8] His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of Portuguese ancestry (all of his maternal great-grandparents had been born in the Azores).[9][10]

Toomey attended La Salle Academy on scholarship[11] and graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in government.

Toomey was hired by Chemical Bank in 1984, where he was involved in currency swap transactions. In 1986, Toomey was hired by Morgan, Grenfell & Co., where he dealt in multiple foreign currencies, interest rates, and currency-related derivatives.[5] In 1991, Toomey resigned from the firm when it was acquired by Deutsche Bank in order to avoid the decreased flexibility and entrepreneurship that the acquisition would have caused.[5] The same year, Toomey and two younger brothers, Steven and Michael, opened Rookie's Restaurant in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[5]

In 1994, at 32, Toomey was elected to Allentown's newly established Government Study Commission. During his term, Toomey drafted a new charter for the commission requiring a supermajority for any tax increase.[12] The charter was approved by Allentown voters on April 23, 1996.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives



In 1998, Toomey ran for the Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, based in the Lehigh Valley region, after Democratic incumbent U.S. Congressman Paul McHale decided to retire.[4] He won the six candidate Republican primary field with 27% of the vote.[14]

In the general election, he faced Roy C. Afflerbach, State Senator and former state representative. During the campaign, Toomey criticized the agenda of the Clinton-Gore administration, specifically plans to modify the Internal Revenue Service. He criticized the plan by claiming that it did not "address the real fundamental problems plaguing American taxpayers", arguing that the IRS should be abolished.[15] Later in the campaign, Toomey and Democratic opponent Roy C. Afflerbach debated the effectiveness of a flat tax-based system, an issue on which the two sharply disagreed.[16] Toomey defeated Afflerbach 55%-45%.[17]


Toomey won re-election to a second term by defeating Ed O'Brien, president of the Bethlehem-based United Steelworkers Local 2598,[18] 53%-47%. He won Lehigh County with 54% and Northampton with 51%.[19]


Toomey won re-election to a third term by defeating Ed O'Brien in a rematch 57%-43%. He won Lehigh with 58% and Northampton with 54%.[20]


He did not run for re-election to his House seat in 2004, fulfilling a pledge that he had signed in 1998 to serve only three terms. He decided to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in the primary instead.[4]


Toomey served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district from 1999 to 2005. While serving in the United States House of Representatives he distinguished himself as a fiscal expert.[21]

In 2002, Toomey voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution, which authorized military action against Iraq.[22]

He proposed a budget that would cut taxes worth $2.2 trillion over ten years, exceeding Bush's $1.6 trillion plan.[23] He strongly opposed Bush's plan for illegal immigration saying "I think it's a slap in the face for the millions of people throughout the world who decide to take the effort to legally enter our country."[24] Toomey was a longtime supporter of creating Medicare Part D, but said wouldn't vote for it unless it brings down costs and guarantees competition between government and private insurers.[25]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate



In 2004, Toomey challenged longtime incumbent Senator Arlen Specter in the Republican primary election. Aided by $2 million of advertising from the Club for Growth, Toomey's election campaign theme was that Specter was not a conservative, especially on fiscal issues. However, most of the state's Republican establishment supported Specter, including Pennsylvania's other U.S. Senator, Rick Santorum and by President George W. Bush. Specter defeated Toomey narrowly 51%-49%, a margin of 1.6 and a difference of about 17,000 votes.[27]


On April 15, 2009, Toomey announced his intention to once again challenge Specter in the Republican senatorial primary.[28] On April 28, 2009, Specter announced that he was switching parties and would run as a Democrat in 2010 after polls showed him losing to Toomey in the primary.[29] Specter's withdrawal left Toomey as the front runner for the 2010 Republican nomination.[30] Toomey defeated Peg Luksik in the May Republican primary 81%-19%.[31]

The general election between Toomey and U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak of Delaware County, who narrowly defeated Specter in the Democratic primary, became ugly. They were ideologically distinct: Toomey was a leader of the conservative faction of the Republican primary, while Sestak was considered a moderate Democrat.[32] Toomey spent $13 million and Sestak spent $10 million. Toomey narrowly defeated Sestak 51%-49%.[33] Sestak won just seven of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including 4 of the 5 most-populous: Philadelphia (84%), Lackawanna (60%), Delaware (56%), Erie (55%), Allegheny (55%), Montgomery (54%), and Luzerne (51%).[34]


Toomey, the first Lehigh Valley resident to serve as United States Senator from Pennsylvania since Richard Brodhead, in the mid-19th century,[35] was elected to the United States Senate on November 2, 2010. His term began on January 3, 2011. He joined the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus which he was an original member of in his days in the House.

On August 11, 2011, Toomey was named to the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. The committee's duties included composing a package of spending cuts for submission to both Houses of Congress.[36] Toomey and the rest of the committee failed to do this.[37]

On April 26, 2012, Toomey was selected to succeed Jim DeMint of South Carolina as chairman of the United States Senate Steering Committee, a caucus consisting of several Republican Senators who collaborate on legislation. DeMint had previously expressed his intention of transferring the committee's chairmanship to a member of the Republican 2010 Senate class.[38]

At the beginning of the 113th United States Congress in January 2013, Toomey was appointed by Senate leadership to fill a position on the United States Senate Committee on Finance, a committee responsible for legislation relating to taxes, among other things. Prior to his appointment to the Finance Committee, Toomey was a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, and as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.[39]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Based on his three terms in United States House of Representatives, the conservative American Conservative Union (ACU) has assigned Toomey a lifetime congressional rating of 97%,[40] and the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) a lifetime "Liberal Quotient" of 6%.[41] The ACLU has given Toomey a 13% lifetime rating on civil rights.[42]

In January 2005, Toomey became president of the Club for Growth, which had spent $1 million supporting his 2004 Senate run.[43]


Toomey identifies as pro-life. Toomey received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He has stated that he supports imposing jail terms for doctors who perform abortions.[44]


In his first term as a congressman, Toomey won $9 million overall in earmark funding to his district.[45] In successive terms in Congress, he swore off earmarks and signed the "No Pork" pledge as a senate candidate.


Toomey has strongly supported increased school choice and charter schools.[46]


During Toomey's tenure in Congress, he supported legislation that would speed up approval of forest thinning projects in 2003, supported opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and development, opposed implementing the Kyoto Protocol, and opposed legislation that would mandate increased vehicle fuel efficiency standards and provide incentives for alternative fuels.[47] In 2003 and 2004, Toomey was given a 0% rating by the League of Conservation Voters, indicating what the organization considers to be an anti-environmental voting record.[48]

Government Shutdown

In 2013, Toomey was one of 18 Senators who voted against the bill to reopen the government during the United States government shutdown of 2013. Regarding the vote, Toomey said: "The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government," he said in a statement. "But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order."[49]


Since his first days as a freshman Congressman, Toomey has strongly advocated deregulation of the financial services industry: "The trend in deregulation, beginning in the early 1980s, is one of the biggest reasons for the sustained economic expansion. I would like to see us continue to deregulate on many fronts, including the financial services industry,” he stated in the spring of 1999.[5]

While serving on the House Banking Committee, Toomey, in 1999, helped write House Resolution 10, which led to the repeal of parts of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act.[5][12] The repeal of the Act, which had regulated the separation of banks and investment firms, allowed for companies that combined banking and investment operations.

Toomey was also a strong supporter of the deregulation of the derivatives market, an area in which he had professional experience, stating that he believed the market to be adequately regulated by banking supervisors and state-level regulators.[50][51] Toomey pressed the House to pass the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 because it would "eliminate most of the cloud of legal and regulatory uncertainty that has shadowed" derivatives since their invention.[50] He stated that he hoped that the Senate would modify the bill to "allow greater flexibility in the electronic trading" of over-the-counter derivatives. Economists believe that deregulation of derivatives was a major factor in the financial crisis of 2007-2008[50]

Toomey was a leading sponsor of the JOBS Act, which passed the Senate in March 2012. The Act would reduce costs for businesses that go public by phasing in SEC regulations for "emerging growth companies" over a five year period. It would also help startup companies raise capital by reducing some SEC regulations.[52]


Toomey advocates reducing gun regulations, but in 2013, he worked with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to introduce legislation that would require a background check for most gun sales. Toomey has expressed opposition to further gun controls, such as a gun registry or assault weapons ban.[53] While serving in Congress, Toomey supported bills that would prohibit suing gun makers and sellers for gun misuse and would decrease the waiting period due to background checks from three days to one for purchases made at gun shows.[47] Toomey previously received an "A" by the National Rifle Association (NRA), indicating what the NRA considers to be a pro-gun rights voting record, but the NRA opposed the proposal he and Manchin offered in 2013.

LGBT issues

Toomey voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage;[47] to ban gay adoptions in the District of Columbia; and for the Marriage Protection Act of 2004, a bill that would amend the federal judicial code to deny federal courts jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act or of the Marriage Protection Act itself.[54] His positions in the 112th Congress earned him a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, indicating he did not support any of the positions advocated by that LGBT rights organization.[55]

Toomey supported the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy which banned openly gay or bisexual persons from serving in the military, in a statement made while he was Senator-elect.[56]


Toomey opposed the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Act which he argued was fiscally irresponsible.[57]

Toomey's 2012 budget proposal called for turning Medicaid into a block grant to states and cutting federal funding for the program by half by 2021.[58]

Toomey opposes the Affordable Care Act, and has supported multiple efforts to dismantle, repeal or defund the law.[59]

Toomey intervened to have Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl dying of cystic fibrosis at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, moved ahead of other recipients in obtaining a lung transplant, on the grounds that the existing policy reduced access for children.[60] Doctors who work in the transplant system said that this decision privileged Murnaghan and another child over other recipients, and privileged them above a national policy of allocating organs fairly according to well-established rules. "Blame falls on the legal and political leaders who neglected their responsibility to protect the interests of all potential patients. These leaders bent the rules in favor of a well-resourced family that generated enormous media attention."[61]

Online piracy

Toomey has taken a stance against both SOPA and PIPA citing "flaws" in the Bills and has vowed to work together with other Senators to establish a more appropriate way of combating online piracy in the United States.

Taxes and government spending

Toomey has been a consistent advocate of reducing and eliminating taxes. While in Congress he voted to reduce the capital gains tax, to eliminate the estate tax, to cut small business taxes, to eliminate the "marriage penalty", to first cut federal income taxes and other taxes by $958B over 10 years (the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001) and later to make these cuts permanent, to reduce capital gains and income taxes by nearly $100 billion (the Economic Security and Recovery Act of 2002), and to expand and extend multiple tax credits to individuals and businesses.[47]

Toomey publicly opposed the 2009 federal stimulus package.[62] He opposes government-run or subsidized healthcare. Toomey opposed farm subsidies and called farm subsidies in a 2009 article in U.S.A Today "Moscow on the Mississippi"

In 2011, he sponsored a federal balanced budget amendment.[63]

Toomey was rated 80% by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), classifying him as what the NTU considers to be a "Taxpayer's Friend" on tax votes.[47] From 1999-2004, He received a 78% rating by the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) on its 'Liberty Index', indicating what the RLC considers his career to be, on average, one of a libertarian-leaning voting record. However, it should be noted that throughout his career, his Liberty Index rating has always decreased, starting at 89% in for 1999–2000, 84.5% in 2001, 79.5% for 2002–2003, 75% in 2004, and 65% in 2005; suggesting that Toomey is increasingly a centrist.[64] In 2003, Toomey was given a 90% rating by the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Electoral history

Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district: Results 1998–2002[65]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1998 Roy C. Afflerbach 66,930 45% Patrick J. Toomey 81,755 55%
2000 Edward O'Brien 103,864 47% Patrick J. Toomey 118,307 53%
2002 Edward O'Brien 73,212 43% Patrick J. Toomey 98,493 57%
United States Senate Republican primary election in Pennsylvania, 2004[66]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Arlen Specter 530,839 50.82
Republican Pat Toomey 513,693 49.18
United States Senate Republican primary election in Pennsylvania, 2010[66]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pat Toomey 667,614 81.5
Republican Peg Luksik 151,901 18.5
United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 2010 [67]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pat Toomey 2,028,945 51.01% -1.61%
Democratic Joe Sestak 1,948,716 48.99% +7.00%
Majority 80,229 2.02%
Total votes 3,977,661 100.0%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

Personal life

In November 1997, Toomey married Kris Ann Duncan, a childhood friend of Toomey's sister. Duncan is a full-time homemaker. The Toomeys have three children: Bridget, Patrick and Duncan.


External links

  • Senator Pat Toomey official U.S. Senate website
  • Toomey for Senate
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Ballotpedia
  • NNDB
  • Project Vote Smart
  • GovTrack
  • OpenCongress
  • Roll Call
  • Federal Election Commission
  • The Washington Post
  • On the Issues
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Washington Post
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • C-SPAN programs
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Bloomberg News
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
Preceded by
Arlen Specter
United States Senator (Class 3) from Pennsylvania
January 3, 2011 – present
Served alongside: Bob Casey, Jr.
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Boozman
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
John Hoeven
R-North Dakota
Preceded by
Paul McHale
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district

January 3, 1999–January 3, 2005
Succeeded by
Charlie Dent
Other offices
Preceded by
Stephen Moore
President of the Club for Growth
Succeeded by
Chris Chocola
Party political offices
Preceded by
Arlen Specter
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Most Recent

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