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House Republicans call for an end to Gov. Wolf’s emergency declaration

Harrisburg, PA – Dozens of House Republicans joined together in a press conference Wednesday morning to call for an end to Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency declaration on the 180th day following issuance of his original declaration.

“Unsupported by data, Gov. Wolf’s confusing, unfair and ever-changing orders have hurt family-run businesses, many of which after operating for generations will never be able to open their doors again,” said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin). “To get all Pennsylvanians back to work, we must bring the governor’s unbridled, never-ending emergency declaration to a conclusion.”

House Health Committee Chairman Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) said the need for the governor’s emergency declaration no longer exists since Pennsylvania has met the stated goals of the original order.

“First and foremost, Pennsylvania has successfully flattened the curve and built up our health care capacity by driving out millions of dollars in frontline funding for Personal Protective Equipment and other critical medical supplies,” said Rapp. “In fact, I am extremely proud to report that my region’s largest medical facility, Warren General Hospital, has had approximately zero COVID-19 admissions. Our dedicated truck drivers, teachers, grocery store employees, police, emergency responders, frontline medical professionals, hospital staff, doctors, nurses, nursing home staff and everyone else involved with keeping us healthy and safe deserve our thanks, respect and gratitude.”

Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) added that Pennsylvania’s children are the greatest casualty of the prolonged shutdown.

“I speak on behalf of the voiceless children all over Pennsylvania, and their reality has been painful. For them, the last 180 days of quarantine and isolation has been a nightmare,” Toohil said. “The state has yet to tally the increase in child deaths and near-deaths resulting from the lockdown order, but the facts are grim and they are being ignored by our governor. The number of child deaths caused by abuse, drug use and more have skyrocketed.”

Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) discussed the fact that the data does not support a continued use of emergency powers by the governor.

“Unfortunately, the Wolf administration is obsessed with managing this now localized virus under statewide draconian mandates and rule by confusion and inconsistency,” Grove said. “It’s time to end the declaration and put into place a more reasonable and measured response supported by the actual data. Pennsylvania doesn’t need more copy and paste policies from other states.”

Wednesday afternoon, the PA House voted on a measure to override Gov. Wolf’s 180-day-old emergency declaration.

The measure needed a two-thirds majority needed to override the veto (135 votes.)

118 ‘yes’ votes were cast so the measure to override the veto did not pass. The governor’s veto is sustained.

All Republicans voted to override the veto. More Democrats voted this time than when the resolution passed, but not enough to override.

Vote tally: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/RC/Public/rc_view_action2.cfm?sess_yr=2019&sess_ind=0&rc_body=H&rc_nbr=1575