In a public ceremony at the Capitol on Monday, Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) was sworn-in to office and claimed the mantle of House Majority Leader.
“Last week, Rep. Joanna McClinton and the House Democratic Caucus conducted an unprecedented, illegitimate, and illegal power grab by claiming they have a majority in the Pennsylvania House after one of their members passed away and their quest for political power forced two more of their members to resign, dropping their total of members eligible to take office down to 99,” Cutler said.
“Their secret stunt showed the leaders of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus care more about redefining terms to justify their claims to power than they do about basic math, being held accountable to the law and providing electoral certainty,” he continued.
Citing the simple math of the majority that 101 is two more than 99, Cutler assumed the role of House Majority Leader as well as the legal authority to exercise the ministerial role of presiding officer as outlined in the Pennsylvania Election Code and affirmed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Perzel v. Cortes.
“By affirming our current majority, House Republicans are also continuing our commitment to upholding the rule of law and electoral certainty, while acting in a manner wholly consistent with prior precedent,” said Cutler.
McClinton was sworn into office on December 7, claiming that since Democrats had won 102 of the 203 contested races for the Pennsylvania House on Election Day, the party had won control of the chamber for the first time since 2010.
Since the end of the last session of the General Assembly on November 30, Democrats have seen their 102 total shrink to 99, due to a death and two resignations. McClinton has taken the position that Democrats won the majority via the will of the people. Cutler has taken an opposite view that states Republicans will have more representatives in the chamber on January 3, 2023, giving the GOP the majority.
“It is our goal to have a productive session and, while we believe that is still possible, it will require all of us understanding simple math and following the law. If Democrats were more focused on that than they were on spiking the football over a non-existent House majority, we could have avoided litigation and instead concentrated our efforts on finding a path forward for the next two years,” concluded Cutler.