Schlossberg: Senate Republicans’ inaction to have consequences

HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg today issued a statement on the Senate Republicans' failure to include $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for adult mental health services in their Fiscal Code bill, which passed the Senate on Wednesday:

“To say the Senate Republicans' actions left a lot to be desired is an understatement. At its best, what they did can only be viewed as unserious. At its worst, it's harmful to Pennsylvanians who would have less access to mental health care if the Senate's version of the Fiscal Code becomes law. 

“Last year, a bipartisan effort resulted in a Republican-led House of Representatives and a Republican-led Senate approving $100 million in federal dollars to improve our broken mental and behavioral health system for adults in Pennsylvania. It was overwhelmingly approved. Somewhere along the line, the Senate Republicans forgot that and backed off on their promise to help Pennsylvanians struggling with their mental health. They stripped the funding from this year’s budget. 

“When given the chance to fix their error through a Fiscal Code, after a full summer of House Democrats calling for this funding to be restored, the Senate Republicans failed Pennsylvanians yet again. Without this money allocated, one in six of our kids and one in five of Pennsylvania adults will continue to struggle with a mental health disorder.

“If this insult was not enough for Pennsylvania, the Senate Republicans also took no action to distribute $100 million in mental health funding for kids. Last year's budget allocated $100 million in mental health toward schools; money that paid for counselors, programs, services, and more, and this funding was yet again proposed for this year’s budget by the Shapiro Administration. This year, despite the fact that youth mental health continues to decline, Senate Republicans voted against delivering critical mental health services to our kids. 

“There seems to be a pattern here: Senate Republicans decided to make vague noises about funding mental health in Pennsylvania, but when push comes to shove, they choose to defund mental health care. 

“We know the problems with Pennsylvania’s broken mental health care system. We know the harm it causes our residents. We spent years studying the problems and each report came back with a common answer: we need to invest financial resources in services and approaches that work. Senate Republicans don’t seem to like the answer, and instead have buried their heads in the sand to give us more failed solutions and broken promises.”