FILE - PA Daryl Metcalfe 10-28-2019

Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, addresses a hearing Oct. 28, 2019.

(The Center Square) – A group of 25 Republican lawmakers is renewing their quest to have Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf impeached, despite an evident lack of appetite among GOP leaders and the majority of their fellow legislators to pursue the idea.

State Rep. Darryl Metcalfe, chairman of the House Environmental Affairs and Energy Committee, announced this week that he was filing five articles of impeachment against the governor.

Metcalfe has been a leading and frequent critic of the governor, particularly over the administration’s moves to have the state join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a climate pact with other states, and over the governor’s moves related to the closure and gradual reopening of the state’s economy during the coronavirus crisis.

That COVID-19 response, which has infuriated many Republicans and business owners in the state, is the source of the five articles in Metcalfe’s resolution. The first two relate to the decision to shut down the economy, the third to problems relating to the state’s unemployment insurance program during the pandemic, the fourth to the infiltration of the state’s nursing homes by the virus, and the fifth to the administration’s responses to right-to-know requests.

“Although Governor Wolf had ample notice that residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities were at severe risk of contracting and dying from COVID-I9, Governor Wolf failed to direct the Department of Health to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to protect them,” Metcalfe’s resolution states. “More than two-thirds of all COVID-I9-related fatalities in this commonwealth have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”

In a news release announcing the filing of the resolution, Metcalfe, as he often has in recent months, referred to Wolf as a “dictator.”

“Wolf’s unconstitutional dictates and Orwellian overreach into our lives and the marketplace has caused immeasurable harm and hardship for far more Pennsylvanians than the virus,” Metcalfe wrote. “We must not and cannot ignore the more than 3,000 deaths in Pennsylvania’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities that are directly linked to Wolf’s and [Health Secretary Rachel Levine]’s unconscionable orders to admit infected COVID-19 patients.”

A statement from a Wolf spokesperson dismissed the impeachment articles as a political stunt.

“In the last weeks, House Republicans have continued their efforts to divide the commonwealth and score cheap political points instead of taking the challenge before them seriously,” said spokesperson Lyndsay Kensinger. “This is just the latest example of the House Republicans wasting time instead of helping to protect Pennsylvanians during this public health crisis.”

Kensinger argued that the proof that Wolf’s decisions have been based on sound science and reasoning can be seen in the fact that the state’s infections are on the decline.

“Pennsylvania is among a select few states with a steady decline in cases, positive indicator that the Process to Reopen PA phased, measured reopening plan is working to balance public health with economic recovery,” Kinsinger said.

A number of conservative lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment against Wolf over the years; none have ever come up for a vote despite Republicans holding a strong majority in the House of Representatives.

Managing Editor

Delphine Luneau is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. She was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship was named best weekly in Illinois, and she has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.