The House Democratic caucus will receive a $1.9 million advance from the State Treasury, after the caucus had burned through its reserve funds in the two months since the state’s budget lapsed, according to Kate Giammarise of the Post-Gazette.
“Without the ability to pay its employees, the General Assembly would be unable to enact laws related to the promotion and preservation of the general welfare – including the enactment of a budget,” the Treasurer’s office said in a statement explaining the advance. “Sufficient legal justification exists” to continue paying legislators and their staff during a budget impasse, the statement said.
Steve Miskin, spokesman for the House Republican caucus, called the advance “unprecedented,” with the Post-Gazette reporting the GOP may challenge the constitutionality of the move. A salary pinch could have seen Democrats lose a chunk of their bargaining power.
The advance will be taken out of the Democrats’ legislative appropriation once a budget has been passed. GOP legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf have been unable to reach any budgetary agreement since June 30, when Wolf vetoed the GOP’s entire budget proposal.