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U.S. Senator Bob Casey On Tariffs, Trade With China And The 2018 Midterms

Katie Blackley

Now that the primary is over and the 2018 campaigns are well underway, we checked in with U.S. Senator Bob Casey. On a recent trip through Pittsburgh, Casey sat down with 90.5 WESA's government and accountability editor, Chris Potter.

Casey discussed how issues like trade with China and steel and aluminum tariffs will affect Pennsylvania. 

Interview Highlights:

On trade and the overcapacity of steel

"For too long, I dont think we've used these trade remedies to enforce trade laws and hold other countries accountable. And get at, frankly, the root of this problem, which for a long time in the context of steel, has been overcapacity of steel -- other countries flooding the market, putting our steelmakers at a disadvantage. We want to get to a point where our steel makers can compete on a level playing field and be able to retain the jobs that are in that industry and a lot of that's here in Pennsylvania." 

On the Beaver Valley nuclear power plant

"We want a plant like that to remain open and for the jobs to be preserved. So I think the [Trump] administration should take action to be helpful where they can. I don't think there's a particular action that can be taken specifically, but I'd certainly be willing to explore any possibility to help keep them open." 

On the midterm election and being a purple state 

"I expect a close, tough race. Our state is structurally close: we're not red, we're not blue. We tend to be more purple. And when you add in the huge Republican advantage of outsider money, they have more super PACs than any political party has ever had. Citizens United allows them to unload on somebody like me."

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.