Editorial: Pennsylvania delegation did its job
We don’t just give power to political parties. We vest that power in individuals for a reason.
We elect lawyers with military backgrounds like Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon, and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Peters. We elect people who have been involved in government since before the Pirates last won a World Series, like Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, and others who had a long career in business before they jumped in the political waters, like Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler.
We elect them because of how they are like us, and how they are different from us, and how we hope they will work with the other politicians and how we hope they will walk their own path.
And that is why, regardless of how anyone feels about President Trump or the impeachment investigation, Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation did its job Wednesday when the House of Representatives delivered a rare rebuke to the White House on the withdrawal from Syria.
What was even rarer was that it was not a Democrat versus Republican vote. It was legislators versus executive, with a vote of 354-60 that meant 129 GOP members joining the condemnation.
We elect people, not party.
The idea that 16 representatives of the evenly split 18-member Pennsylvania delegation voted for the rebuke is as admirable as the fact that two didn’t.
It shows that they considered an issue, gave it the weight it deserved and made a decision. It illustrates that those diverse backgrounds that sent an Hollidaysburg dermatologist and a Centre County nursing home administrator and a Philadelphia schoolteacher to Washington did what they were supposed to do.
It is easy to agree with your friends. It is easy to do what is expected. The seven Pennsylvania Republicans who didn’t were strong enough to examine an issue and deliver a sober and reflective vote on it, despite it going against a party leader with a strong Keystone State following.
It was just as hard for the two who didn’t follow suit (Rep. John Joyce, R-Hollidaysburg, and Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Luzerne County). They stood by their beliefs in the face of the majority of their colleagues — both in the party and in the state — and cast their votes accordingly.
For too long, Congress has been a predictable math problem. There are this number of Democrats and this number of Republicans, so the vote on any issue would be the same.
But the public doesn’t elect a nameless red or blue hash mark on a scoreboard. We elect people who will sometimes make decisions that are in line with their friends and sometimes stand against them.
And it is the votes that are not along party lines that say the most.