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Does the GOP believe in democracy? Pa. Rep. Scott Perry votes against condemning Myanmar coup | Monday Morning Coffee

March 22, 2021 7:19 am

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on “critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’” in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to vote in favor of supporting a resolution opposing the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. For a member of Congress, it’s the political equivalent of being against a resolution opposing the mistreatment of puppies. It’s a ‘gimme’ vote.

Yet, somehow, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, was among 14 GOP members to pull an epic “Hold My Beer,” last Friday by voting against a resolution condemning the recent military coup in Myanamar.   

To justify their opposition, the GOP dissenters to the measure sponsored by U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., raised concerns over language dealing with … wait for it … election integrity.

More astute readers will recall that Perry, a hardcore supporter of former President Donald Trump, and a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucusobjected to the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

According to The Hill, a publication that covers Congress, the bill ended up passing by a whopping 398-14 margin. As a refresher: Myanmar’s military ousted the country’s civilian government on Feb. 1, claiming that last year’s general election was invalid.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Perry’s spokesman, Jay Ostrichtold Forbes that the Myanmar resolution was an “an overt attempt to trap Republicans into condemning the claims of evidence of election fraud in Burma while perpetuating similar claims (in the Democrat’s views) of evidence in U.S. elections.”

Readers will recall that Perry, by objecting to Pennsylvania’s electoral results, did stand up for claims of nonexistent election fraud in last November’s general election. And he took a sledgehammer to the constitutional rights of the voters in his home state when he signed onto Texas’ profoundly undemocratic lawsuit seeking to toss the results of that election. A move that, if successful, would have disenfranchised millions.

So, by voting yes to the Myanmar resolution, Perry effectively would have been forced to stand up and admit what we all know — that pro-Trump Republicans participated in a coup on Jan. 6. And that their actions led to the sacking of the U.S. Capitol, which left seven people, one of them from Pennsylvania.

But keep in mind, Perry, a veteran, couldn’t even bring himself to offer a full-throated condemnation of the crazies in QAnon during his re-election campaign last November. So it’s entirely in character for him to find a way to squirm out of casting a vote in favor of condemning the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government. 

The vote, as The Hill notes, came as Myanmar’s military junta has swatted down pro-democracy protests with violent enthusiasm. At least 224 protesters have been killed and at least 2,258 people were arrested, The Hill reported, citing data compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

It’s too late for voters of the 10th District, which includes Harrisburg and its purplish suburbs, to take a mulligan on Perry, who cruised to re-election over Democrat Eugene DePasquale last fall. But it will be entirely legitimate for them to question, and thoroughly evaluate, Perry’s commitment to democracy in next year’s mid-term elections.

Because, right now, it’s an open question.

(c) 3desc – Stock.Adobe.com

Speaking of voting …
With a state Supreme Court seat up for grabs this year, and control of the Legislature and Congress on the ballot in 2022, Pennsylvania Democrats are launching a massive digital and on-the-ground organizing program. The effort, which starts today, aims to register 125,000 new voters by next May.

The effort will particularly focus on registering Black, rural Hispanic and Asian-Pacific Islander voters. The state party also is taking the mildly Orwellian step of sending already filled-in voter registration forms to those constituencies, with the first round of those mailers landing in voters’ mailboxes today. The digital push will be complimented by in-person registration efforts when it’s safe to do so, the Capital-Star has learned.

“We are so proud to launch our voter registration campaign after months of planning,” state party Chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills said in a statement obtained by the Capital-Star. “Thanks to the hard work of our leadership, staff, and volunteers, we ended 2020 in a strong position and didn’t miss a beat. Pennsylvania is the ultimate battleground state — and even small shifts here can make a big difference. That’s why our work to expand the Democratic electorate is so critical. Long-term success in the Keystone State is the best investment the Democratic Party can make.”

The push also comes as tens of thousands of Pennsylvania voters have deserted the GOP in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A Capital-Star analysis found those losses were balanced out by a traditional purge of the voter rolls that impacted Democrats.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
In this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketAssociate Editor Cassie Miller delves into a county-by-county breakdown of Pennsylvania women with STEM degrees.

Allegheny County has expanded eligibility for the COVID vaccine to residents aged 50-64 with underlying conditions, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

Closed out of the Capitol for months by the pandemic, sexual abuse survivors will be returning to the building this week to press for the passage of an emergency reform measureElizabeth Hardison reports.

Some Cumberland County residents are calling for a ‘pause’ on sale of the county-owned nursing homeCassie Miller also reports.

With Philadelphia announcing that it’s now taking applications for special events permits, there’s a quiet hope for the return of the city’s annual PrideFest, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

On our Commentary Page this morning, contributor Denny Bonavita, a retired journalist from the ‘T’ argues the case for permanently springing forward. And opinion regular Dick Polman extols the virtues of ‘NoMalarkeyCare.’

En la Estrella-CapitalPa. el Capitolio reabrirá al público el lunes.

Temple University in Philadelphia (Photo by Brendan O’Kane via Flickr Commons)

Elsewhere.
Study abroad programs are continuing at some colleges and universities, including Temple University in Philadelphia, the Inquirer reports.
Hundreds gathered in Pittsburgh on Sunday night to honor the Atlanta shooting victims, the Post-Gazette reports.
Pennsylvania has seen a huge spike in Medicaid enrollment as a result of the pandemic, PennLive reports.
In one Bucks County school district, an app intended to let students report bullying has been ‘weaponized,’ officials sayThe Morning Call has the story.
A decade after it took effect, two framers of Luzerne County’s home rule charter assess its effect to the Citizens’ Voice. 
The Pennsylvania State Police are issuing warnings about fake COVID-19 vaccines, the York Daily Record reports (paywall).

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day.

The ADL says the distribution of white supremacist propaganda surged in New Jersey and Pennsylvania last year, WHYY-FM reports.
Gun waiting periods are rare, but they may be coming to Pennsylvania and other states, the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).
A former state lawmaker from Erie has asked a judge to let him run for a county office, even though he didn’t gather enough signatures on his nominating petitions, arguing the pandemic made people wary, GoErie reports (registration required).
Washington City Councilman Joe Manning, a Democrat, has filed paperwork taking his name off the spring primary ballot and now plans to run as an independent, the Observer-Reporter reports.
Citing sources, PoliticsPA says state Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, is mulling a 2022 gubernatorial bid.
Roll Call has the details on a special election in Louisiana 
to replace former U.S. House lawmaker, now Biden White House official Cedric Richmond.

What Goes On.
The state House comes in at 12 p.m. The Senate returns on Tuesday. Here’s a look at the day’s committee action:
In the Senate:
10 a.m., Senate Chamber: 
Appropriations Committee — Budget hearing for the Dept. of Corrections and the Board of Probation & Parole.
2 p.m., Senate Chamber: Appropriations Committee — Budget hearing for the Department of Community & Economic Development.
In the House:
9 a.m, G50 irvis: 
State Government Committee
10 a.m., 60 East Wing: Insurance Committee
11 a.m, 515 Irvis North: Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
Call of the Chair, 140MC: Appropriations Committee
Call of the Chair, G50 Irvis: Urban Affairs Committee

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Doyle Heffley
11 a.m.: 
Luncheon for Rep. Sheryl Delozier
11:30 a.m: 
Luncheon for Rep. Margo Davidson
5:30 p.m.: 
Reception for Auditor General Timothy DeFoor
6 p.m.: 
Reception for House Speaker Bryan Cutler
Ride the circuit, and give at the max today, and you’re out a ridiculous $12,000 today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friend O’the BlogChris Brennan, of Cumberland County, Danya Henninger at BillyPenn, and to Rob Tornoe of the Philadelphia Inquirer, all of whom celebrate today. Congratulations and enjoy the day, friends.

Dept. of Gastronomy.
PennLive 
highlights Isabella’s Southern Cuisinea new restaurant bringing the owner’s soul food family traditions to Midtown Harrisburg,

Dept. of Gastronomy (Take-Out Edition).
LehighValleyLive 
highlights efforts to support Lehigh Valley restaurants by ordering take-out. 

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a tune that soundtracked my Sunday run: From 1996, here’s the trance classic ‘Children,’ by Robert Miles.

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
The Devils downed Pittsburgh 2-1 in OT on Sunday. New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt scored the game-winner.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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