Support is growing to impeach Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
But even some Republican voters wonder if this is more “lip service” from the GOP members of the General Assembly or if they really mean to follow through on it.
Pennsylvania House Circulating Memo to Impeach Governor Tom Wolf
Back on May 15, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (Butler County) circulated a co-sponsorship memo in the House of Representatives. Metcalfe circulated the memo looking for co-sponsors.
On Saturday, Metcalfe got at least one co-sponsor for that impeachment resolution. State Rep. Russ Diamond (Lebanon County) posted on social media that he co-sponsored the memo.
Diamond immediately got feedback on that post. While some definitely support the idea of moving forward with removing Wolf from office, others questioned it. And some saw this as just another piece of legislation that would likely go nowhere.
Remember, throughout the pandemic response, the General Assembly has routinely passed legislation to work on reopening the Pennsylvania economy. Despite passing both the House and Senate, Wolf has vetoed each bill or resolution. Often times, Wolf turns around and acts unilaterally to mimic the legislation but under his own orders. One of the more recent examples of that was Wolf’s decision to veto a bill that would allow real estate businesses to reopen. Just hours after vetoing, he issued his own executive order that did the very same thing.
Unilateral Action – Shutting Off General Assembly from Pandemic Response
Throughout the pandemic response, Wolf acts on his own and willfully ignores the elected members of the state House and Senate. And that seems to be the impetus behind the impeachment movement.
Here’s the full text of the memo Metcalfe circulated to House members back on May 15:
Gov. Wolf’s orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have violated a number of our God-given rights affirmed in the United States Constitution. In particular, his order mandating the closure of physical locations of all businesses that he has deemed ‘non-life sustaining’ has violated our citizens’ rights in many devastating ways.
His order constitutes a taking of property from business owners without just compensation. The lack of due process and judicial review permitted under his order also violates the Constitution. In addition, this order coupled with the stay-at-home order, has violated our rights to free speech and assembly.
Another troubling aspect of his mandates is the utter lack of transparency demonstrated by the administration during this time, as agencies under his control have stopped responding to requests for records and his office has refused to provide vital information. The waiver process established under the Department of Community and Economic Development resulted in arbitrary and capricious decisions about which businesses may stay open. The public, press and General Assembly all have the right to know about these decisions and how they have been made. While the Wolf administration has finally slowly begun to release some of the relevant information regarding which businesses received waivers, they have yet to release any information about how or why these decisions were made. His delays and obfuscation have been, and continue to be, entirely unacceptable.
His failure to adequately administer our unemployment compensation system has made it so that countless Pennsylvanians who have recently become unemployed due to his orders have been unable to collect the benefits they require to meet their basic needs.
His focus on restraining business is particularly disturbing, as the majority of deaths due to the pandemic have been residents of long-term care facilities. The governor should have focused his attention there, but he has entirely failed to implement a comprehensive state plan to protect our most vulnerable citizens who reside in nursing homes, which have had inadequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment and testing kits throughout the outbreak.
As Gov. Wolf has violated so many of our fundamental rights as citizens of the Commonwealth, I will be introducing a resolution impeaching the governor and exhibiting Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. His actions plainly constitute the misbehavior in office required for his impeachment under the Pennsylvania Constitution.
While these are certainly challenging times, Gov. Wolf must be held accountable for his actions that have harmed so many of our citizens and violated so many of our rights. No individual or office is above the law.
In addition to his tyrannical orders to shut down businesses across Pennsylvania, the reasons for moving forward with impeachment include a lack of transparency, a bungled response to the unemployment compensation crisis which left thousands of Pennsylvanians without a paycheck for months, and the state’s alarming decision to release COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes after leaving the hospital. About 70% of deaths attributed to the Chinese virus have come from nursing homes across Pennsylvania.
Impeachment Procedure for the Governor of Pennsylvania
When we reached out to Diamond on Saturday night, he indicated that any impeachment resolution might go through the Judiciary Committee before reaching the House floor for debate.
If members of the House passed the impeachment resolution, it would then get moved to the State Senate for trial, according to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
A 2/3 majority of the 50 members of the Pennsylvania Senate would have to approve the measure if it were to pass. That’s 34 votes and would require at least some bipartisan support. There are currently 27 Republican members of the State Senate, 1 Independent and 21 Democrats.
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