HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – In December 2022, Pennsylvania state officials received an automatic pay rise to $103,000 but have yet to hold a productive meeting in Harrisburg.
Mark Twain once joked that your wallet is safe when Congress isn’t in session, but lawmakers are deadlocked in the State House, can’t agree on how to start the year, and aren’t in session. However, tax money is still involved here.
“I would say it’s ridiculous,” said Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington).
Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news abc27 newsletter!
Kail has held hearings for Republicans on issues primarily pushed by Republicans. The GOP says it wants to work, but Democrats accuse it of cockiness.
“We need to get to work, get organized, come to work and start doing the work that people do here in Pennsylvania,” Kail added.
The House Freedom Caucus tried a questionable and invisible tactic and got 100 Republican signatures to force a return to session. Republicans needed 101 signatures to force a return to session; Dauphin County’s Tom Mehaffie was the only Republican holdout.
Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York), who chairs the Freedom Caucus, said the same about Mehaffie.
“Are you going to stick with the Republicans on procedural issues or not? If not, I assume you’re not part of the caucus, correct? So you have to pick a horse and ride it,” Keefer said. “If you won’t allow us to go back to work because you’re lining up with the Democrats, you should consult with the Democrats, right? If they allow you to argue with them.”
House Democrats appear to prefer to wait until late February after the special elections that should give them a majority are held. However, Democrats reject the idea that they don’t earn their paychecks.
“I believe everyone is working,” said Rep. Mary Isaacson (D-Philadelphia). “It is a false statement to say that we are not working because we are not in session. Going to meetings isn’t the only thing we do. There are political hearings, laws that need to be drafted and meetings that need to be held.”
With six-figure salaries, these legislators are certainly getting an honest daily wage. Whether they put in an honest day’s work depends on who you ask.
“We can’t just close the house if one side doesn’t like the numbers and the other side doesn’t like it. We have work ahead of us and people should be demanding of us,” Kail said.
Mehaffie is said to have angered some of his fellow Republicans who were considering disciplinary action against him. Mehapfie did not respond to multiple calls for comment.