Pennsylvania State Representative Bob Brooks should be ashamed of himself.

The Republican lawmaker showed up to vote on a bill that would order some non-essential employees back to work. Not only that, but he showed up wearing a facemask. Not only that, but he was also wearing the apparatus upside down. Not only that, but he also wore the mask while health care employees in his district are going without the proper equipment.


Like it says above, Bob Brooks should be ashamed of himself.

The Republican-dominated Pennsylvania Legislature (both houses) passed a bill this week that used a different definition of what constituted an “essential business” vs. what Governor Tom Wolf approved of in his order to close all non-essential businesses. The definition the Pa GOP used was what Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health and the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recommends regarding what constitutes an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.”

The CISA definition includes construction to be an essential business, for example. Governor Wolf’s definition only includes “emergency repairs” to be allowed to operate and all other construction halted.

Of course, Democrats and Republicans were divided largely down party lines. Republicans argued that residents in rural counties have been forced out of work, even though their areas have not reported many coronavirus cases.

“If you’re in Crawford County, you’re in a completely different world than if you’re in Philadelphia today,” Corman said. “To treat it as a kind of one-size-fits-all state, the cases don’t reflect that.”

Democrats countered that it prioritizes the economy over public health.

“Our health-care system cannot handle the type of carnage we would see should our businesses be open,” House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, a Philadelphia Democrat, said Tuesday on the House floor. “We can revive our economy, but we cannot revive lives.”

Republicans also complained that the systems for waivers were too confusing and inconsistent for anyone reasonable to follow.

But regardless of the vote and positions on either side of the aisle, the bill is unlikely to become law as Governor Wolf will veto it. The legislature could override it, but they do not appear to have the votes.

Regardless of where anyone sits on the issue, Bob Brooks should still be ashamed of himself. He isn’t willing to go into the chamber to vote without a facemask, yet workers who need them in his district are going without the proper equipment. It would be one thing for him to vote against the bill, but he voted for it.

And that, beyond the rhetoric of both parties sums up why this bill is a bad idea at this time. We cannot provide for the few workers who are out there and give them all the proper equipment they need, the last thing we should do is put more workers in danger.

And if Bob Brooks is willing to put them in that danger himself, maybe he could make the case for voting for that bill — but he wasn’t. He was a hypocrite’s hypocrite.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story stated that Brooks was wearing an N95 respirator. He was not but wearing another type of facemask. We also removed a picture featuring workers that apparently not in Rep. Brook’s district. We have corrected the errors and apologize for any inconvenience.