For a second time, state lawmakers are offering a proposal to impeach Gov. Tom Wolf.
On Monday, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, and 29 co-sponsors, including state Rep. Brian Smith, R-Punxsutawney, introduced House Resolution 56.
“No individual or regime is above the law,” Metcalfe said in a statement emailed to constituents. “The time for Wolf’s impeachment and removal from office is long overdue.”
The resolution provides five articles for state House members to consider.
In the first, Metcalfe conceded that Wolf “had the legislatively delegated authority to declare the disaster emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak” on March 6, 2020. However, Metcalfe contended, “Gov. Wolf did not have the authority to issue subsequent orders ... that deprived citizens of this commonwealth of their most basic rights affirmed by the constitution of the United States.”
The next article referred to Wolf’s March 19, 2020, mandate closing “non-life-sustaining” businesses across the commonwealth.
“Gov. Wolf ordered the (state) Department of Community and Economic Development to create a waiver program through which newly shuttered businesses could apply to reopen,” Metcalfe wrote. However, “the waiver program was applied in an arbitrary and capricious manner, leading to inconsistent and unjust results which determined the fate of the livelihoods of many citizens of this commonwealth.”
In his third article, Metcalfe contended that Wolf knew that his mandated business closure orders would forcibly cause historically high unemployment, but that he “failed to direct the (state) Department of Labor and Industry and the Office of Unemployment
Compensation to appropriately staff and administer” essential jobless benefits.
The fourth article zeroed in on a problem also now facing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“On March 18, 2020, the (state) Department of Health issued guidance urging nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit and readmit patients who had tested positive for COVID-19,” Metcalfe wrote.
In his statement to constituents, Metcalfe cited a recent Fox News interview where U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican whose district covers New York’s Southern Tier from Jamestown to Binghamton, was calling for a federal investigation into Cuomo’s alleged mishandling of COVID-19.
Metcalfe quoted Reed as saying there is evidence that Wolf cookie-cuttered and imposed Cuomo’s lethal nursing home orders across Pennsylvania.
“Regardless of the level of collaboration between Wolf and Cuomo, the majority of all COVID-19-related fatalities in this Commonwealth are directly connected to Wolf and his former health secretary (Dr. Rachel Levine)’s unconscionable order,” Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe also was critical of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, saying that waiting for results of a letter from eight congressmen calling on Shapiro to conduct an investigation similar to what New York’s attorney general has done “is a colossal waste of time.”
The letter was sent last summer. Signatories include Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, whose district includes Indiana County.
In a July 6, 2020, response to a U.S. House subcommittee investigating the coronavirus crisis, Shapiro “assured Pennsylvanians that the Attorney General’s office is conducting a ‘thorough, holistic, and wide-ranging investigation’ into Coronavirus and Pennsylvania’s nursing homes ‘using all the tools the office has available.’”
The fifth article charged Wolf with actively withholding critical information about issues pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak from the public, press and General Assembly.
“State agencies under Gov. Wolf’s jurisdiction have stopped responding to requests (made under the state’s) Right-to-Know Law,” the article read. “The governor has refused for months to release requested information related to the waiver program for reopening businesses shuttered by (Wolf’s) mandated business closure orders.”
Metcalfe also was a prime sponsor of House Resolution 915, proposed last June and also seeking Wolf’s impeachment. Twenty-four Republicans were co-sponsors including state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City, and then-state Rep. Cris Dush, R-Brookville, now a state senator in the district including his former Jefferson County House constituents.
HR 915 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee but no action was taken upon it. Metcalfe’s latest resolution had not been referred to a committee as of this morning.