Corbett Feud With Republican Legislators More Public Than Ever
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After Gov. Tom Corbett line-item vetoed part of the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s legislative budget, Senate leaders accused the governor of not working effectively with Republican majorities in the legislature.
Then on Friday, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of the North Hills joined the chorus.
After fellow Republican Tom Corbett used his line-item veto pen to strike $65 million from the legislative budget, saying they weren’t doing their job, Turzai, a McCandless Republican, shot back.
“We’re not about politics,” Turzai told a press conference in Pittsburgh. “I think the governor’s actions were about politics. We’re about action.”
And Turzai seemed to contrast the House’s actions with Corbett’s inaction.
“The House of Representatives, particularly the Republican caucus, has been out front leading for three-and-a-half years,” he said.
Turzai said the House has increased funding for education, passed tort reform, and addressed other issues, but criticized Corbett for being AWOL from the debate, like on the House-approved liquor privatization bill.
“What has the governor done in terms of the bully pulpit or his political capital to get that over the goal line?” he added.
Or on reducing the size of the legislature.
“Where’s the governor’s capital and bully pulpit to get the Senate to move, reducing the size of the legislature?” Turzai said.
Turzai praised House-approved pension reform, rejecting any Corbett suggestion the House has not acted.
“Public pension reform is something the House of Representatives, the Republican caucus, has led on,” Turzai said.
And he said Corbett’s approach — to reduce contributions — was wrong-headed.
“The governor wanted to reduce payments to the pension systems. He was using a page out of Governor Rendell’s book.”
The Republican House leader is frustrated that a Republican governor is slamming legislators when, he says, it’s the governor who is failing to lead.
“Governor, get it done!”
Later in the day, Corbett reacted to Turzai’s criticism.
“Republicans, we have differences of opinion, and it’s been hard,” he said.
Regarding Turzai’s comments that Corbett was not using his bully pulpit, Corbett said, “You know what I’m not using? I don’t have, because I campaigned against it, what governors before me had… ‘walking around money.’ We don’t have those levers of, ‘Oh, I need your vote. Here, I’m gonna give you a project here, and you’re gonna vote with me when I want you to vote with me.'”
So-called “WAM”s, or “walking around money,” were once a tradition in Harrisburg that Corbett ended.
“Do I believe that if I would have some of those levers that governors had in the past, I might’ve been able to get some votes done sooner? Absolutely,” he said. “So do I regret that? I’ll answer that after we win the election in November.”
Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai joined Mike Pintek to talk more about why Gov. Tom Corbett and the republican’s struggle to get along. He seemed to tell Mike Pintek that he looks forward to working with the governor to “get things done.”