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Pat Toomey

Pat Toomey American politician

American politician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American politician
A.K.A. Patrick Joseph Toomey, Patrick Joseph "Pat" Toomey
Countries United States of America
Occupations Politician
Gender male
Birth 17 November 1961 (Providence)
Star sign ScorpioScorpio
Education Harvard College, Harvard University
Pat Toomey
The details

Patrick Joseph "Pat" Toomey (born November 17, 1961) is an American businessman and politician. He is the junior United States Senator for Pennsylvania, in office since 2011, and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, Toomey served as a United States Representative for three terms, from 1999 to 2005, but he did not seek a fourth term in compliance with a term limits pledge he had made while running for office in 1998.
Toomey attended La Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island before earning a B.A. in government from Harvard College. He was employed first by Chemical Bank and subsequently by Morgan, Grenfell & Co. beginning in 1984 and 1986, respectively, until resigning from the latter in 1991. 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. 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, former U.S. Navy Three-star admiral and Congressman Joe Sestak.. He is currently the only Republican holding statewide office in Pennsylvania.
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. Toomey was re-elected on November 8, 2016, to his second term as the junior United States Senator from Pennsylvania, defeating Katie McGinty in the general election.

Early life, education, and early career

Pat and his wife Kris Toomey in 1999

Toomey was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the third of six children of Catholic parents, Mary Ann (née Andrews) of East Providence, Rhode Island and Patrick Joseph Toomey of Providence, Rhode Island. 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 Catholic Church.

Toomey was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and attained the organization's highest rank, Eagle Scout. 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).

Toomey attended La Salle Academy on scholarship where he participated in the Close Up Washington civic education program. He graduated as valedictorian of his high school class. He 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.

In 1991, Toomey resigned from the firm when it was acquired by Deutsche Bank due, he later stated, to his concern that the new corporate owner would impose a less flexible and entrepreneurial work environment. The same year, Toomey and two younger brothers, Steven and Michael, opened Rookie's Restaurant in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

In 1994, 32-year-old 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. The charter was approved by Allentown voters on April 23, 1996.

U.S. House of Representatives


Congressman Toomey's Official Portrait.

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. He won the six candidate Republican primary field with 27% of the vote.

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 said the plan did not "address the real fundamental problems plaguing American taxpayers" and said that the IRS should be abolished.

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. He promised to only serve six years if he won the election. Toomey defeated Afflerbach by 55%–45%.


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


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%.


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.


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. He pushed to decrease spending by the federal government and to set aside money for debt reduction.

In 2001, he proposed a budget that would cut taxes worth $2.2 trillion over ten years, exceeding Bush's $1.6 trillion plan.

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

Toomey 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." He was a longtime supporter of creating Medicare Part D, but said he wouldn't vote for it unless it brings down costs and guarantees competition between government and private insurers. In keeping with his pledge to limit his term in the House to six years, Toomey elected to run for the Senate in 2004.

Committee assignments

  • House Budget Committee

U.S. Senate


Toomey speaking at CPAC in March 2014.

In 2004, Toomey, aged 42, 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. Most of the state's Republican establishment supported Specter, including Pennsylvania's other U.S. Senator, Rick Santorum, and President George W. Bush. Specter defeated Toomey narrowly, 51%–49%, a margin of 1.6 points and a difference of about 17,000 votes out of over 1 million votes cast.


On April 15, 2009, Toomey announced his intention to once again challenge Specter in the Republican senatorial primary.

On April 28, 2009, Specter announced that he was switching parties and would run as a Democrat, after polls showed him losing to Toomey in the primary. Specter's withdrawal left Toomey as the front runner for the 2010 Republican nomination. Both primaries were held on May 18, 2010.

Toomey defeated Peg Luksik in the Republican primary 81%–19%, and Specter was eliminated when he lost the Democratic primary 54%–46% to U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak of Delaware County. The general election became ugly, and ultimately cost over $50 million, including spending by the candidates, political parties, and outside groups. Toomey prevailed, 51%-49%, carrying most of the state's counties.


Toomey successfully ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary and defeated Democratic candidate Kathleen McGinty in the general election. Toomey won his re-election with 48.9% of the vote, compared to Democratic challenger Katie McGinty's 47.2% and Libertarian challenger Ed Clifford's 3.85%.


Toomey, the first Lehigh Valley resident to serve as United States Senator from Pennsylvania since Richard Brodhead in the mid-19th century, 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.

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.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection
    • Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development
    • Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Finance
  • Joint Economic Committee
  • Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Political positions

U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey addresses the Philadelphia Tea Party on April 18, 2009.


Toomey has strongly supported increased school choice and charter schools.


During Toomey's tenure in Congress, he supported legislation that would speed up approval of forest thinning projects in areas at high risk of wildfire, disease, or pest infestation 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.

In 2010, Toomey said, "I think it's clear that [climate change] has happened. The extent to which that has been caused by human activity I think is not as clear. I think that is still very much disputed and has been debated". In 2011, he voted to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2013, he voted for a point of order opposing a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions. In 2015, he voted against the Clean Power Plan. In a series of roll call votes attached to debate about Keystone on January 21, 2015, he voted against amendments by John Hoeven and Brian Schatz to express the sense of Congress regarding climate change

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, he said: "The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government ... 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."


Regarding deregulation of the financial services industry, Toomey said in 1999: "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."

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. 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 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. He 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. 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.

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.

Gun policy

In 2013, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Toomey and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin introduced legislation that would require a background check for most gun sales. The legislation did not pass when it was originally introduced, or when it was re-introduced in 2015. According to Politico, "Toomey's advocacy for expanded background checks has hurt his standing among gun-rights groups but bolstered his bipartisan bona fides in the swing state of Pennsylvania." Toomey does not support presidential executive orders on gun control, but believes that background checks should be passed in Congress.

LGBT issues

In 2004, Toomey stated that he believes society should only give special benefits to couples which meet the "traditional" definition of marriage as "one man, one woman." He voted in 2004 to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

In 2010, Toomey supported the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell, a policy which banned openly gay or bisexual persons from serving in the military, in a statement made while he was Senator-elect.

In November 2013, Toomey proposed an amendment exempting private religious entities from following the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The amendment failed. After the bill received the sixty votes required for cloture, Toomey cast his vote in support.

Following the cloture vote, Toomey stated that he has long believed that more legal protections are appropriate to prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but plans to modify the bill to offer more "leeway" to religious groups.


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

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. He opposes the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and has supported multiple efforts to dismantle, repeal or defund the law.

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. As a 10-year-old, Murnaghan was only eligible for transplants from other children, and not from adults, leading to a longer waiting time than adult patients.

Some doctors said this decision privileged Murnaghan and another child over other recipients, and privileged them above a national policy of allocating organs according to well-established rules. Murnaghan's case resulted in a permanent organ transplant policy change for pediatric patients.

Online piracy

Toomey has taken a stance against both SOPA and PIPA 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.

Toomey publicly opposed the 2009 federal stimulus package. He opposes government-run or subsidized healthcare, and farm subsidies.

In 2011, he sponsored a federal balanced budget amendment. He supported extending unemployment benefits and offsetting the cost with reduced government spending in other areas.

In his first term as a congressman, Toomey won $12 million overall in earmark funding to his district. In successive terms in Congress, he swore off earmarks and signed the "No Pork" pledge as a senate candidate.

In December 2011, Toomey partnered with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to introduce the Earmark Elimination Act of 2011. The bill, which did not pass, was reintroduced by the pair in 2014.

Social issues

Toomey identifies himself as pro-life. He has stated that he would support penalties for doctors who perform illegal abortions.

When he first ran for Congress in 1998, Toomey said that he personally opposes abortion and believes it should only be legal in the first trimester. Toomey voted for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.

In March 2015, Toomey voted for an amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow employees to earn paid sick time.

Personal life

In November 1997, Toomey married Kris Ann Duncan. The couple has three children.

Electoral history

Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district: Results 1998–2002
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
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
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Pat Toomey 667,614 81.5
Republican Peg Luksik 151,901 18.5
United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 2010
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
United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 2016
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Pat Toomey 2,923,742 48.94%
Democratic Katie McGinty 2,817,619 47.16%

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