Frankel: Will House Rs take COVID-19 seriously?

News of lawmaker’s positive test comes amid contentious committee hearing

HARRISBURG, Oct. 1 – It was during an unnecessarily contentious House committee hearing – in which House Republicans took turns attacking Health Secretary Rachel Levine for her widely lauded, thoughtfully applied COVID-19 mitigation efforts – that the latest news broke of yet another COVID-19 case among House Republicans.

“It is with the deepest sincerity that I wish Representative Schemel a speedy recovery,” said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, the minority chair of the Health Committee, of which Schemel is a member. “I also want to thank House leadership for taking this situation seriously, and halting all House activity while contact tracing and other mitigation efforts are put into place.

“However, for months now, I and my colleagues have watched House Republicans try to tear down our state’s efforts to mitigate this crisis, and attend voting session after voting session in the House chamber and in smaller meeting rooms without wearing masks.

“I hope that this will serve as a wake-up call to my Republic colleagues that -- despite their claims to the contrary -- this crisis it not over, but remains something to be taken very seriously.

“More than 8,000 Pennsylvanians have been killed by this virus, and more than 150,000 have been sickened. This virus has disrupted our state to its very core, and I would urge House Republicans to use this virus-imposed break for a time of self-reflection, to think about how their actions – or inactions – have impacted not just their constituents, but this entire commonwealth.”