Pro-Labor Renegades In Pa. Frustrate GOP Leadership

Monday, 16 Apr 2012 11:53 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A handful of Republican lawmakers have joined in with the Democratic minority in the Pennsylvania state House to derail efforts by conservative GOP members to roll back the prevailing wage law and privatize state liquor sales.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, some 12 to 15 members of the GOP caucus are helping Democrats hold the bills hostage and are also giving their party colleagues fits over some spending cuts to human services programs proposed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

The state House is normally controlled by the 112-member Republican majority when they all vote together over the chamber’s 91 Democrats. Only 11 Republicans have to cross the line, however, to stop legislation from moving anywhere at all.

Matthew Brouillette, who heads the conservative Commonwealth Foundation, told the Post-Gazette that the GOP renegades are frustrating efforts to pass the GOP leadership’s agenda.

At the moment, he said, “There’s a handful of Republicans who hold a veto over the majority caucus in the House.”

The newspaper noted Monday that many of the Republican defectors on the bill that would lower the prevailing wage paid on public projects, represent union strongholds in the southeastern part of the state. Their union sympathies, according to Republican Rep. Gene DiGirolama, aren’t negotiable — especially on the issue of prevailing wages.

DiGirolama, whose political action committee, GoodJobsPA, is partly funded by union donations, says that having members of his party with close ties to labor is good for “the diversity of the House Republican caucus.”

“This is democracy at work,” he told the Post-Gazette.

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