PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf met with young entrepreneurs at Innovation Work’s alpha lab, but he couldn’t resist lobbing strong words at Pennsylvania House of Representatives Republican leaders for reneging on the budget compromise he says he had with them.
“We had one. We had it passed. It was ready to go. I was ready to sign it right before the holidays,” said Wolf.
But then, says the governor, House Speaker Mike Turzai pulled the rug out from everybody by denying a final House vote on the compromise budget.
“Right before it got to third consideration — and we would have won — the Speaker said let’s count votes. So they recessed, counted votes. Then, they decided to recess a little longer before they didn’t get the votes where they wanted. And then they didn’t get the votes, so they said, let’s go home for Christmas,” Wolf elaborated.
The governor used a baseball analogy.
“When you get to the ninth inning and you’re losing 16 to nothing, you’re not allowed to take the ball and go home because you forfeit the game,” noted Wolf. “That’s the rules in life. That’s the rules in baseball. Apparently, that’s not the rule in Harrisburg in the House of Representatives, but that’s what happened.”
Wolf blasted Republicans for still being absent from Harrisburg, telling young entrepreneurs, “Don’t hire people who think the job is not to show up, or to leave town before they finish the job.”
Wolf clearly blames what he calls extremists in the Republican Party.
“We ought to be honest about this. There’s a group of moderate Republicans in the House that helped minority Democrats pass this budget, but that’s when the extremists got really nervous and decided to go home for the holidays,” he said. “Well, folks, elections have consequences. You put extremists into power, this is what you get.”
The governor said credit agencies downgraded the state’s rating after Republicans passed a partisan budget that he line-item vetoed in part.
“These are the consequences we face for having extremists who just say, I’m not going to govern here, I’m just going to throw bombs,” he said.
A Republican House spokesman said the governor was acting like a schoolyard bully because the facts are not on his side.
The spokesman added that the Republican budget this year was a billion dollars more than last year and it still wasn’t enough for the governor.