Harrisburg, Pa. − June 9, 2020 − During today’s session, Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) voted “No” on HR 836 as amended, which would end the Governor’s Emergency Declaration related to COVID-19.
Senator Collett offers the following reactions:
- “After much deliberation, today I cast my vote against HR 836. Right now, every state in the country continues to have an emergency declaration in place, highlighting the fact that the COVID-19 crisis is still, very much, a public health emergency.”
- “The 12th District and the entire Southeast have been very hard hit economically, and my constituents are suffering and rightly frustrated. Many think that ending the emergency declaration is the only solution. But it is not. We can and will continue to reopen and rebuild our economy at an increasingly rapid pace, and I will continue to speak out and push our administration not only to act faster but to invest more in Montgomery and Bucks Counties that together account for nearly 20% of Pennsylvania’s annual general fund revenue.”
- “While it is possible to reopen without ending Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration, prematurely terminating it puts Pennsylvania, Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania businesses at risk of losing billions of dollars in much needed potential federal aid and puts our fate in the sole hands of this country’s President. I believe my colleague Senator Mastriano misspoke and exaggerated the extent of his conversations with the Trump administration when he assured our citizens that we would not lose any money because there was a federal emergency order in place. Senator Mastriano did offer documentation of this fact (from a publicly available document), but he offered no proof or details of any conversation where the Trump administration guaranteed that it would not, under any circumstances, end the federal emergency declaration or otherwise cut off COVID relief funds to individuals or states in whole or part. I am not willing to bet my constituents’ livelihoods on the whims of this president.”
- “HR 836 is not about the defense of democracy against tyranny. It is not about our inviolate constitutional freedoms. It is not about the right to protest. It is not about whether or not you need to wear a mask. You are free to not wear one, just as privately-owned businesses are free to require them, like they do shoes and shirts. HR 836 is simply about the benefits and protections to which Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians are entitled during a time of statewide emergency and whether Pennsylvania remains at such an emergency crisis level to continue to need these protections.”
- “As many of my colleagues across the aisle emphasized during today’s lengthy session, it is true that job losses during the COVID crisis have been particularly hard on Pennsylvanians – and Pennsylvanians of color – living in poverty. Terminating Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration would not eliminate the systemic racism and economic inequities that led us here. But it would threaten the safety net that the state’s emergency declaration provides.”
- “Terminating Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration would also nullify the temporary provisions put in place to administer unemployment compensation – which has become critical to supporting Pennsylvanians who have either lost their jobs or seen their wages diminished. In passing HR 836, the Senate and House majorities are once again turning their backs on hard working Pennsylvanians during a public health crisis.”
View Senator Collett’s remarks on the bill during Monday’s Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee meeting here.