Addressing the crowds at Philly’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in NovemberIn the confident hope that the cause and cure of this terrible illness can be found, I have joined the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s.

The Task Force was founded in 1999 to advance research and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in Congress. The bipartisan organization is led by co-chairs Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Representatives Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Christopher Smith (R-N.J.).

Most people I meet are familiar with the disease, but they might not know just how prevalent it is in our state. Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest statewide total in the nation of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Pennsylvania is also a leading state in the commitment of volunteers and caregivers to fight this illness.

Alzheimer’s is a tragic illness that robs its victims of some of their greatest possessions – their memories. Working together with fellow Pennsylvanians and my colleagues in Congress, I am committed to fighting this disease and finding a cure.

Filling PA’s Judicial Vacancies

Introducing judicial nominees Gerald McHugh and Edward Smith at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nominations of Gerald McHugh and Edward Smith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both were nominated by President Obama this past August. 

Sen. Bob Casey and I have worked together to select qualified jurists to fill vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. The selection of these two excellent candidates demonstrates the strength and effectiveness of our bipartisan system, which has led to the confirmation of eight highly qualified men and women to the federal bench in Pennsylvania since I joined the Senate in 2011.

Protecting Kids From Child Predators
In case you missed it, Campbell Brown’s important piece in the Wall Street Journal highlights the tragic need for my bill with U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) to protect America’s children from sexual predators in the classroom.

This legislation requires schools to perform background checks on all new and current employees and bans schools from helping a child predator find a new teaching job. Rep. Miller’s bill has passed the House of Representatives.

I hope the Senate will consider my bill soon.

Protecting Iraqi Jewish Heritage
I am working with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to ensure roughly 2,700 Jewish artifacts discovered in Iraq in 2003 – including Torah parchments and ancient prayer books – are not returned to that country. Instead, we believe these treasures should be housed in a location that is accessible to scholars and to Iraqi Jews and their descendants, who have a personal interest in the artifacts.

Sadly, there are few Jewish people remaining in Iraq today. Their priceless artifacts were stolen by Saddam Hussein and the former government of Iraq. We should not ship the collection back to a country where their owners no longer reside. With our bipartisan resolution, I am pleased to join Sens. Blumenthal and Schumer in urging the State Department to re-examine returning the collection to Iraq. Learn more here.

Said Gregg Roman, Director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh:  “Senator Toomey’s bipartisan leadership regarding the Iraqi Jewish Archive is refreshing and fully welcomed. It does not make sense to send these precious artifacts back to Iraq when they were stolen in the first place, let alone no longer having a community in Iraq to look after them.”

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