#PABudget: It’s Official. The Pennsylvania House is a Dumpster Fire

There are plenty of descriptors that can explain what is happening in the House with getting a budget completed, and one of them should be “dumpster fire.”

For the past several months, we’ve been told that the budget deal should be finished by mid-July, then mid-August, then Columbus Day Weekend, then Halloween the possibly by Thanksgiving.  As we blew past Thanksgiving, it was well maybe by this weekend, or next weekend or by yesterday because legislators want to get things done before Christmas.

See a trend forming?  Because we’re now going into the week before Christmas and if you’re a betting man, it probably won’t get done before New Year’s because House Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader David Reed are unable to lead their caucus.

Insiders in Harrisburg have been constantly complaining about Governor Wolf using “campaign style” tactics to get a budget.  The Governor has rightfully held out to get the most out of his first budget, crisscrossed the state, held town halls in legislative leaders’ school districts and pressured Mike Turzai, David Reed and Senate Leader Jake Corman’s by blasting their phone numbers out in mass emails.  That was in the summer.

Now it’s December and the blame falls on the hands of Mike Turzai and David Reed.  Speaker Turzai’s plans to oust David Reed from his leadership role and the caucus that happened after that skirmish – two completely independent events – nuked the current budget framework and has gotten us where we are today.  Unlike their counterparts in the Senate Leadership, Speaker Turzai and Majority Leader Reed have little to no career experience running committees and whipping votes on legislation they deem important.  Because of this, they have allowed their Caucus turn the House into a dumpster fire, and the only thing left to do is stand around and watch it burn.

Case in point?  Yesterday’s pension reform vote.  Earlier in the day, I published an article stating the House Democrats hold the true power when it comes to passing a tax package because of how out of control the majority party really is.  Even though House Democrats are an extreme minority in the House, they hold the power because they are the largest voting bloc in the Chamber.

What happens after that?  Republican Leadership brings up a bill that is their own priority.  When you bring up a bill that is your issue, you do it knowing that you have the votes within your party because the opposition is not going to vote for it, but the bill blows up in their face with 55 of a 119 member body voting for it.

Now we’re getting ready to debate a stop-gap budget, which Governor Wolf, Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and House Democrats have no interest in negotiating over.

That right there is a real failure in leadership.

Now, time for some tweets describing yesterday’s dumpster fire.


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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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