House Democrats to Republican colleagues: ‘Stop the charade’

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – House Democratic leadership issued the following statement today calling on legislative Republicans to drop their radical anti-health agenda and come to the table for an honest discussion on helping Pennsylvanians recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pennsylvania is currently experiencing a steady increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations with a positive testing rate that indicates substantial or high community spread of the virus. Our hospital system is strained and emergency rooms in both central Pennsylvania and southwestern Pennsylvania recently have been forced to divert ambulances simply because they couldn’t accept additional patients.

“At the same time, we’re sending our students, the majority of whom are not eligible for the vaccine, back to school. Only a few weeks into the school year and case rates among school-aged children are nearly 12 times higher than they were last year. Experts have repeatedly said that masking is the best tool we have to protect our students who are unable to get vaccinated, and yet House Republicans, who did nothing all summer but sit on $7 billion in federal stimulus funds that Pennsylvania desperately needs, have now called us back into session to attack the governor and secretary of health and put our children at risk.

“If classrooms shut down due to a high number of cases, businesses have to close when working parents are forced to take time off and stay home with their kids. Rather than endanger the lives of children and make it harder for businesses to operate, we need to be using the $7 billion to aid our recovery and grow our economy by helping working families. That funding can fix our crumbling schools, improve access to childcare, improve our STARS childcare rating system, and so much more.

“Republican legislators could help everyone by joining us in encouraging vaccinations and other health and safety measures so kids can stay in school, parents can stay at work and hospitals can remain accessible for routine healthcare. Instead, they’ve focused on hindering the state’s recovery at nearly every turn and prolonging these hardships by now refusing to recognize that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support masking in schools. Rather than give in to a very loud minority, we invite them to an honest discussion about truly putting Pennsylvanians first and beginning our road to recovery.”