Critical of Republican’s Political and Redundant Attempt to Subpoena Wolf Administration Officials
Harrisburg, Pa. − April 30, 2020 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. issued the following statement regarding the Senate Republican efforts to subpoena Governor Tom Wolf’s cabinet officials in the middle of a public health crisis.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the Auditor General’s decision to conduct an audit of DCED’s waiver program. The program has been criticized for inconsistencies in the granting of waivers in a transparent manner.
“The review by the Auditor General is a more appropriate venue, particularly given that DCED and the Governor’s office has agreed to participate. Furthermore, the audit by the Auditor General is exactly what Senate Republicans this week asked for in a letter, signed by members of their caucus. As such, given the granting of their request and DCED’s agreeing to participate in the audit, the subpoenas now issued are an unnecessary and redundant additional step. A duplicative review of the same program and information is a waste of taxpayer resources and takes our administration’ s officials away from fighting COVID-19.
“On the day the United States crossed 60,000 deaths from COVID-19, Senate Republicans called a last-minute Senate Committee meeting to try to attack the Governor who has decisively and steadfastly led our state through this outbreak.
“While the Republicans focus on fighting Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine, our caucus is focused on fighting COVID-19 and protecting workers.
“Our staff and member time would be better used helping to process unemployment compensation claims, plan for businesses to reopen, and work on a plan to get federal stimulus dollars into our constituents’ pockets.
“Unfortunately, this is becoming a theme with our Republican colleagues in the general assembly recently. Just last week they pushed for an anti-choice measure in a piece of telemedicine legislation that could have expanded health care access for all rural Pennsylvanians. They knew their political provision would lead to a veto, and they refused to compromise, and we do not have a much-needed telemedicine program in PA.
“I am asking that they cancel tomorrow’s planned VAEP hearing.
“The Senate and House Democrats, Governor Wolf, DCED, and DoH have been singularly focused on protecting working people, getting medical equipment for front line workers, and finding resources to keep businesses afloat while the crisis persists.”
Senator Costa, along with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus spent their day Wednesday presenting a proposal for the state to spend $5 billion in federal revenue to get Pennsylvanians back on their feet and back to work.
Republican distractions and charades since COVID-19 reached Pennsylvania have included:
- Attempting to ban access to reproductive health care under telemedicine, denying access to health care for rural Pennsylvanians
- Creating a political task force to oversee Secretary Rachel Levine
- Voting against front line workers, against paid sick leave, against hazard pay, against mandated PPE, against workers compensation expansion
- Subpoenaing Administration officials
Democratic efforts to aid Pennsylvanians during the outbreak:
- Introduction of the American Working Families Relief Action Plan, which included protections for workers, assistance in childcare, and expansion of workers compensation protection
- Fighting for all front-line workers to make sure that they are being protected and compensated for their great sacrifices during the pandemic
- Introduction of a plan to spend federal stimulus dollars to get Pennsylvanians back on their feet and back to work
More information on the Senate Democratic stimulus plan can be found at PASenate.com/PaCARES