PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Republicans are celebrating as both the Pennsylvania House and Senate have passed a resolution ending Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration, while Democrats are calling it “political theater."
The resolution moved quickly, as it cleared the House on Tuesday and was back for final consideration two days later, when it cleared again.
It’s based on two constitutional amendments that Pennsylvania voters passed in last month’s election, which has yet to be certified.
House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre County), the resolution's sponsor, said the GOP is listening to voters who, he said, told them to "end this emergency declaration and end it today."
Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Greensburg) was among those celebrating its passage.
“This vote restores liberty by re-instituting legislative powers throughout times of an emergency," said Ward.
Sen. Katie Muth (D-Chester, Montgomery counties) pointed out this ends waivers that allow economic and health care flexibilities.
"Why would you not want kids to have a school lunch program? Why would not want us to be able to respond to things with our national guard?" she asked.
"Why would you not want these federal dollars to be allocated to our constituents? What is the rationale?”
The GOP has amended another bill to maintain some of those waivers.
"The extension of waivers provides health care and economic flexibilities to protect families, especially our elderly and vulnerable populations," said Ward.
But that amended bill prompted Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery County) to respond.
“This is disingenuous political theater. This isn’t about the public health declaration," said Bradford.
Bradford asked Benninghoff if this resolution did anything to lift the mask mandate or business closures.
“Through interrogation, what is obvious is this doesn’t change one thing," said Bradford.
The governor has no say on the resolution.
Sen. Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny County) asked committee chair Patrick Stefano (R-Fayette County) how the Legislature could move on the resolution, as the election has not been certified.
“Constitutional amendments are effective immediately upon the vote of the people," said Stefano.
"So then are we going to start seating senators before election results are certified?” asked Williams.
“The senator votes are not constitutional amendments," Stefano responded.