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Governor Threatens Withholding Federal Aid To Counties For Reopening Before He Says So

By Frieda Powers May 14, 2020 | Image Source : BPR

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared that counties within his state would risk losing federal stimulus funding if they refused to obey his stay-at-home orders.

The Democrat governor threatened that businesses would be given citations if they reopened and county officials would not be given access to federal aid if they allowed the re-openings prematurely. His remarks came after some county leaders informed him in letters last week that they planned to move to the “yellow phase” of his reopening plan regardless of his directives.

“Over this past weekend, some have decided to surrender to this enemy,” Wolf said during a news conference Monday.

“These are politicians who were elected to serve their fellow citizens. Others are business owners who have chosen to serve their customers by putting them in harm’s way. These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy, in the middle of a war that we Pennsylvanians are winning and that we must win,” he said.

“I cannot allow residents in a red county to get sick because their local officials can’t see the invisible risk of the virus in their community. So, I must and I will impose consequences if a county locally lifts restrictions when it has not yet been given the go-ahead by the state,” the Democrat added.

The governor repeated his latest directives in a series of tweets Monday, announcing “consequences for counties that do not abide by the law to remain closed.”

Wolf also warned that businesses that open in non-compliant counties could “potentially jeopardize their business liability insurance or the protections it provides.”

“Dine-in restaurants that open in counties that have not been authorized to reopen will risk receiving a citation,” he added in another tweet. “These citations can ultimately lead to the loss of a restaurant’s liquor license.”

The Democrat even assured Pennsylvania residents who did not “feel comfortable” returning to work in businesses that had reopened against orders that they would continue to receive unemployment pay.

“The dangers associated with #COVID19 may not be readily visible to all, but they are present,” Wolf wrote. “The politicians who are encouraging us to quit the fight are acting in a most cowardly way.”

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano accused Wolf of playing politics during a discussion of the governor’s blatant overreach.

“We start with the proposition that his shutdown orders are not orders, they are guidelines because they were not enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature,” Napolitano said on Fox Business Tuesday, elaborating on Wolf’s latest power grab as tensions between him and local officials escalated.

Napolitano spoke about the legal authority of the governor and attorney general of Pennsylvania in interceding in the litigation that will be forthcoming as the lockdown orders receive major pushback.

President Donald Trump, who has been encouraging states to begin reopening, commented on Democrat-run local governments like that in Pennsylvania which are using coronavirus-related restrictions to gain political leverage.

“The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them,” Trump tweeted.

Anti-shutdown activists in Pennsylvania staged a protest in April and announced another one to be held at the state Capitol Building on Friday.

“The governor is using laws for mobilizing aid for disaster areas during a time of emergency. These laws are meant for just a short time, but are now being used to disable resources, businesses, and people to lock them down,” ReOpen PA founder Matt Bellis said, according to WHTM. “This is no longer in the best interests of the state.”

Author: Frieda Powers

Source: BPR: Pennsylvania Dem governor threatens to withhold federal aid to counties that open before he says so

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