ICYMI: “Unfortunately, the Republican General Assembly is failing Pennsylvanians this fall”

PENNSYLVANIA — The Republican legislature in Harrisburg spent the fall relitigating the 2020 election through a fraudit that will risk 9 million Pennsylvanians’ private information, attacking Gov. Wolf for protecting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and pursuing a far-right agenda to appease the MAGA wing of their party. While they focused on extreme and unpopular policies, they failed to deliver on the issues that actually matter to Pennsylvanians like fixing infrastructure, reducing crime and keeping Pennsylvanians safe, and putting more money in the pockets of families.

That failure is part of a trend, with the Republican state legislature “doing less and less actual lawmaking” — and now, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, arch-rival state Senator Doug Mastriano, and state Senators Dan Laughlin and Scott Martin appear to be using the legislature to score political points in the PA-Gov primary.

Check out the Erie Times-News’ piece on where the PA legislature stands as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday.

Erie Times-News: Pa. lawmakers on break: Here’s what the Legislature didn’t do before Thanksgiving

By Candy Woodall, 11/22/2021

There’s something Democrats, Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf agree on: Pennsylvania lawmakers left for Thanksgiving break with unfinished business. 

The House wrapped up its action last week and won’t return to the the State Capitol Building until Dec. 13. At that point, they will be in session for three days before they start another holiday recess Dec. 16 which will last into the new year. 

Neither party got everything it wanted during this session, especially Democrats who are in the minority of the Republican-led Legislature.

They all have plans to push their agenda during the three remaining days of session in December, and they’re setting goals for 2022 — when all their seats and the governor’s race will be on the ballot. 

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday was already pushing the priorities for his last term in office. 

“Pennsylvanians shouldn’t have to choose between losing a day’s pay or taking care of a sick child,” he said during a news conference in Philadelphia. “We need to make jobs work for people, not the other way around.”

Wolf, who is finishing his second term in office and not constitutionally eligible for a third term, is focused on “supporting and protecting workers, raising the minimum wage, reducing gun violence without infringing on lawful gun owners’ rights, protecting the right to vote and increasing accessibility to vote, and addressing climate change,” according to his press secretary Elizabeth Rementer.

“These are all bipartisan, commonsense issues that Pennsylvanians widely support,” she said.

Rementer and Democrats are criticizing Republicans for spending political capital and “wasting time and taxpayer money” to relitigate the 2020 election, pushing bills that allow concealed carry without permits and attempting to dismantle public health. 

“Unfortunately, the Republican General Assembly is failing Pennsylvanians this fall,” she said.

What Republicans want

The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday voted 107-92 to pass a bill that would allow  concealed weapons to be carried without a permit. 

It moved to Wolf, who said he would veto the legislation. 

“I’ve made it clear that I would veto legislation that risks the safety of our communities,” the governor said last week. “It’s not getting past my desk.”

The governor’s office sees the gun legislation — which Republicans knew wouldn’t get past Wolf — and other GOP-led efforts as ideology based that does “nothing to support family-sustaining jobs, improve our economy and our environment, and move Pennsylvania forward.”


What Democrats want

Democrats say the majority party has failed to take substantive action on the issues that matter most to Pennsylvanians, such as helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and giving essential workers a raise. 

“Instead, they spent their time on divisive partisan issues like attacking public sector unions, expanding access to guns, and rolling back measures that protect us from the next pandemic,” said Nicole Riegelman, spokeswoman for the House Democratic Caucus. 

In the new year, the House Democratic Caucus will continue to fight for fixing aging schools, expanding access to high-speed internet, investing in infrastructure to improve daily commutes, and attracting businesses and job growth to Pennsylvania, she said. 

“Pennsylvania can’t have an economic recovery from the pandemic that leaves entire communities behind,” she said. 

Democrats have been especially disappointed that Pennsylvania has more than $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan that is not being used for its intended purpose of helping state residents recover from the pandemic. 

The House Democratic Caucus wants to see some of those federal dollars go toward improving access to childcare, creating a paid sick leave program and making sure every worker can control their financial future when it comes to retirement.

“There are plenty of good bills that can truly benefit our commonwealth and the governor urges the Republican-led legislature to use the remaining few days to move commonsense bills forward, and to prioritize this further in the new year,” Rementer, the governor’s spokeswoman, said.