News & Politics

Chaos in PA Legislature as Republicans Refuse to Seat Democrat Jim Brewster Over Fraud Concerns

Chaos in PA Legislature as Republicans Refuse to Seat Democrat Jim Brewster Over Fraud Concerns
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

There’s a story out of Pennsylvania today that you simply have to see. Whether or not it amounts to anything remains to be seen, but Republican state legislators aren’t giving Democrats an inch for once. The Philadelphia Inquirer had the scoop. 

The new session of the Pennsylvania Senate got off to a chaotic start Tuesday, with Republicans refusing to seat a Democratic senator whose election victory has been certified by state officials.

It’s an all-out war.

Amid high emotions and partisan finger-pointing, Republicans also took the rare step of removing the Democratic lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, from presiding over the session. They apparently did so because they did not believe Fetterman was following the rules and recognizing their legislative motions. Democrats, in turn, responded by refusing to back Sen. Jake Corman (R., Centre) from assuming the chamber’s top leadership position — an unusual maneuver on what is most often a largely ceremonial and bipartisan vote.

But my favorite part is the uncontrolled screaming during the vote while the presiding official simply ignores it. I have no idea who is screaming, but this made me laugh uproariously. I am always of the opinion that our legislative sessions would be much more entertaining if our lawmakers were more like the inhabitants of the House of Commons and fistfights would occasionally break out. Imagine how C-SPAN’s viewership would increase! This is the closest to a physical scuffle I’ve ever seen. The guy screaming sounds like he’s having a triple bypass-inducing grabber.

The outburst starts when Republicans introduce the measure to remove the lieutenant governor from presiding over the session. Watch the whole thing. 😂

For now, at least, Democratic State Sen. Jim Brewster, of Allegheny County, will not be allowed to take the oath of office, as Republicans believe litigation over the outcome in his race must first play out in federal court. GOP leaders have said the state constitution gives senators the authority to refuse to seat a member if they believe the person does not meet the qualifications to hold office.

Who says politics isn’t fun? Maybe one election of 2020 will be held accountable for election laws. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Brewster narrowly won reelection over Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli, who is asking a federal judge to throw out the election results. At the center of that legal dispute are several hundred mail ballots that lacked a handwritten date on an outer envelope, as required by state law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed those ballots to be counted, which gave Brewster the edge in the race.


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