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Toomey holds first town hall in months; Some call it fake


Liz Navratil reports for Philly.com

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Providing aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey, tax reform, and overhauling the Affordable Care Act will likely be top priorities when the Senate returns to session next week, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Thursday night during a long-awaited town-hall meeting that some critics described as “fake.”

Constituents had been asking for months that the senator hold a public, in-person meeting – something he recently had been doing only over the phone or, occasionally, with protesters who gathered outside his office.

Summer town halls, once considered friendly forums for many legislators, have been rough for many Republicans this year.

Toomey’s meeting, held inside a PBS39 studio and broadcast live, was not terribly dramatic; by many standards, it was tame. Only one person was removed, after he asked a question that could not be heard by everyone in the room.

But some critics also called it fake because of its comparatively small crowd size and structured format.

Toomey told the crowd he expected aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey to pass Congress in the next week or two, possibly with other measures wrapped into it to fund the federal government.

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