A resolution introduced in the House of Representatives Tuesday calls for the impeachment of Gov. Tom Wolf, but none of the 14 Republican House members in the Delaware Valley have signed on as co-sponsors.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) introduced the resolution with 24 co-sponsors.
“Governor Wolf did not have the authority to issue subsequent orders following the disaster declaration that deprived citizens of this commonwealth of their most basic rights affirmed by the Constitution of the United States,” it reads.
Lyndsay Kensinger, spokeswoman for the governor, said over the last three months Wolf had made “very difficult decisions to combat this pandemic and to protect the life and health of all Pennsylvanians.”
“In the last weeks, House Republicans have continued their efforts to divide the commonwealth and score cheap political points instead of taking the challenge before them seriously,” Kensinger told Delaware Valley Journal. “This is just the latest example of the House Republicans wasting time instead of helping to protect Pennsylvanians during this public health crisis.”
Besides claiming Wolf violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of Pennsylvanians, the resolution also argues Wolf’s business closures “disproportionally impacted small businesses.” The resolution accuses him of failing to properly staff up for the coming wave of unemployment insurance claims, and says the Democratic governor “failed to protect the citizens of this commonwealth who are most vulnerable to COVID-19: residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”
There are five articles of impeachment in the resolution, HR 915.
“Pennsylvania citizens deserve and demand far better than a petulant socialist dictator with a well-documented history of unconstitutional and unlawful misbehavior cowardly occupying the governor’s office,” Metcalfe said. “No individual or regime is above the law. The time for Wolf’s impeachment is now!”
Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Montgomery) said she always tries to look at a bill or resolution from the other side of the political aisle to understand it but says this one is a waste of time.
“Pennsylvania’s done an incredible job, and that’s due in part to the governor’s leadership and the secretary of health,” Shusterman told Delaware Valley Journal. “We’re talking wartime. We’re talking a pandemic where keeping social distance, wearing the appropriate masks, washing your hands, basically being at home has saved people’s lives.”
Shusterman was particularly critical of the article saying Wolf failed to properly staff and supply the unemployment insurance offices, saying the General Assembly had not kept its end of the deal over several years of properly funding the state Department of Labor.
Ever since Wolf declared emergencies in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans have waged a constant assault on the administration.
Early on in the COVID-19 emergency, GOP lawmakers passed a bill that would have reopened some of the state’s economy by taking away the governor’s closure orders, replacing them with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention federal guidelines. Wolf vetoed the bill.
When that towering effort failed, Republicans pursued a piecemeal strategy of passing legislation that would have opened up the economy in a business-by-business approach, such as bills to reopen construction, real estate, auto sales and more.
Although none of those bills passed, many credited them with pressuring Wolf into taking action, like allowing the construction industry to return to work a week earlier than planned.
The many Republican efforts occasionally pulled away some Democrats.
In one instance in which a Republican bill sought to force the governor to open Right-To-Know offices, all House Democrats voted yes.
The latest effort — before the impeachment — was another resolution, again passed by Republicans, seeking to terminate the governor’s original COVID-19 emergency declaration. Although that measure passed, it is not immediately clear if it requires Wolf’s signature or not.
Because of that, the resolution is now tied up in court.