By: Don Shaw email: don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com (570) 543-2961

PA Reps respond to Wolf’s call for a new Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps

PA Reps respond to Wolf’s call for a new Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps

Harrisburg, PA

Today, Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent announcement of a new Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps program:

“Gov. Tom Wolf is clearly out of touch with Pennsylvania’s citizenry if he believes that an additional layer of government is at all helpful at this point. I remind him that our workforce is struggling. Businesses are permanently closing, and unemployment compensation claims are months late. Families are struggling to put food on the table. As a state, we are currently facing a multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfall due to how this administration has chosen to handle this crisis. The last thing Pennsylvania needs is another government program.

“To begin his announcement, the governor explained that one in six workers is currently unemployed. That number would be considerably lower had he allowed Pennsylvania businesses to operate safely and responsibly under science-based federal guidelines, as my colleagues and I in the House urged him to do. Instead, he vetoed legislation we presented to him and he closed entire industries, which are still operating in a majority of other states.

“The list of reasons that Pennsylvanians have to become increasingly skeptical of Harrisburg’s response to COVID-19 has only increased. It began with a waiver system that allowed some businesses to resume operations but demanded identical businesses to close. These same businesses and their customers are offered no real answers when reviewing the governor’s three-phase reopening plan. Adding more bureaucracy is not only unnecessary – it’s an outrage.”

Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) issued the following statement:

“Today, Gov. Wolf announced the creation of the Civilian Coronavirus Corps for Pennsylvania (CCCP) which he plans to use for tracking Pennsylvania residents and will be staffed with jobless Pennsylvanians.

“These jobless Pennsylvanians were made jobless by his unilateral decision to shut down the Pennsylvania economy and to keep it shut down.

“As House Republicans have moved legislation to safely reopen our economy, time and time again we have been met with the opposition of Gov. Tom Wolf. But now, it is safe for the creation for a new shiny government bureaucracy to employee these same people.

“Instead of creating more bureaucracy, he should focus on ensuring the over 500,000 residents who are not receiving their unemployment benefits actual receive them. Furthermore, he should establish hard criteria for reopening Pennsylvania, so we have a clear path forward instead of consistently moving the goal posts.

“Again, after a short and non-transparent briefing, we are left with more questions than answers. Pennsylvanians deserve better. Wolf should immediately reopen his Right-to-Know offices so Pennsylvanians can finally get answers from their government.”

Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) issued the following statement:

“I am deeply troubled to learn of Wolf’s plan during a press conference to unilaterally create a new governmental program that has the potential to cost taxpayers millions of dollars without any legislative oversight.

“First, I don’t believe this program is needed for one of the reasons Wolf stated: to put people to work. Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians already have jobs, but the governor is not allowing them to go safely back to work. If it is safe for people to be employed in the arena of health and potentially be on the front lines through the new government program Wolf wants, it is safe for them to return to the jobs they currently hold.

“Second, Wolf mentioned that he is working to be transparent with his policy making and other decisions. However, once again, the Legislature has been shut out of his decision to create his coronavirus corps. We were alerted to the initiative a mere four minutes before the press conference, leaving no time for me and my colleagues to respond.

“Additionally, the press has been effectively muzzled at the governor’s and secretary of health’s press conference for the past six weeks. Wolf’s virtual press conferences are held with no press in attendance, which deeply curtails reporters’ ability to ask questions and follow-up questions. During Wolf’s press conference, he said he wants to be more transparent. The first step toward transparency is to allow the press to attend briefings so they can ask questions in person and hold government accountable.”