Dec. 14, 2023 / Press Release

By Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Altoona) 

Early in 2023, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the first time in more than a decade elected a Speaker from the Democratic Party.

Speaker Mark Rozzi proceeded to adjourn the Pennsylvania House - which at the time had a Republican majority - while he went on a statewide tour to tout "bipartisanship."

Coincidentally, his tour ended right around the same time that the Democrats got a slim, one-vote majority in the House.

It was only then that we were called back to work in Harrisburg.

Later in the year, after a couple Democratic House members resigned and the Democrats no longer held a majority, current Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton sent us all home again.

That extended recess ended coincidentally right at the same time special elections returned their one-vote majority to the Democrats.

It was only then that we were called back to work in Harrisburg.

On Dec. 15, a Democratic House member will resign to become a judge and the House will be tied at 101-101.

Lo and behold, there is now a hole in the roof of the House chamber, and we won't be called back to work in Harrisburg until March 18 when the hole is fixed.

That will coincidentally be right around the same time that the Democrats will almost assuredly once again get their one-vote majority back in a special election.

There have been a number of times in the past when the Pennsylvania House chamber could not be used for legislative sessions.

There have been renovations and repairs over the years. There was a very serious fire.

On those occasions, the House has met and worked in other locations inside and outside of the Capitol.

Most recently, during the dark days of a pandemic, the Republican majority somehow managed to keep the House working.

We didn't miss a beat. Where there's a will, there's a way.

There are two reasons why things happen in Harrisburg: The reason people say, and the real reason. A hole in the roof? Seriously?

Or a Democratic House leadership that puts the House to sleep for months at a time until they can regain a majority because they refuse to engage in the very bipartisan cooperation that they are always mouthing.

The year 2023 has been an historical year for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. It has been a half-century or more since we have passed so little legislation.

We have been in session and working fewer days than any House chamber since 1964.

Additionally, as of this writing we still do not have a completed budget, which was due June 30.

And it's also the first year in more than a decade that the Democrats have had control.

It's not a coincidence.

I implore the Speaker of the House to bring us back into session in January so that we can do our work on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania, because our people are not being served by the current Democratic House leadership.

Representative Lou Schmitt
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross
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