House Democrats preparing to compel action on Restore PA

HARRISBURG, June 10 – House Democratic leaders indicated that if vital legislation implementing Gov. Wolf’s plan to meet infrastructure needs throughout the state does not move quickly, they are prepared to take steps to force the issue.

Speaker Mike Turzai referred the Restore Pennsylvania bill (H.B. 1585, sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny) to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee last week. The panel’s chairman is a Republican who often brags of his refusal to advance any legislation sponsored by Democrats.

The Restore Pennsylvania bill has 99 House co-sponsors from both parties.

Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said several of his colleagues are preparing a discharge resolution to get Wheatley’s bill out of the committee and brought to the full House for consideration.

“The people of Pennsylvania need the benefits that Restore Pennsylvania will deliver,” Dermody said. “From flood control to blight remediation to increased broadband deployment across the state, the state has many unmet infrastructure needs for which no other realistic funding source has been identified.”

Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, who co-chaired a House-Senate policy hearing today on the RestorePA proposal, announced at the meeting’s conclusion that he’s ready to file the discharge resolution as soon as possible.

“We heard a lot today about the benefits of this broad-ranging proposal,” Sturla said. “The bill needs to get a vote and it’s unacceptable for one person to stand in the way. We’ll do everything allowed by House rules to move the bill to a vote, including a discharge resolution.”

The bill’s prime sponsor in the House, Finance Committee Chairman Jake Wheatley, supports the effort of the bill’s many co-sponsors to ensure it moves forward.

“This landmark plan was developed with ideas from the Wolf administration and from both sides of the aisle,” Wheatley said. “About half the members of the House already are co-sponsoring it and I welcome any action that we can take to be sure the bill gets fair consideration by the entire House.”