Republican leaders in the Washington state Legislature are pushing back on recent comments from Gov. Jay Inslee, saying their efforts to rein in executive power in Washington are “for the people” and not directly an attack on the governor.
On Wednesday, April 21, state Senate Republican leader John Braun, R-Centralia, and state House Republican leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, offered a rebuttal to statements made by the governor last week. Inslee said legislative and legal challenges to his use of executive power during the COVID-19 pandemic are an attempt to “gut the ability of the governor to try and save lives,” adding all of those efforts ultimately ended with rulings in his favor.
In their statement, Braun and Wilcox wrote the governor’s claim they were trying to gut his ability to do anything was “ridiculous,” adding it seemed as if Inslee “doesn’t grasp what our proposals would do.”
“We have been clear from the start that our bipartisan effort to reform the executive’s emergency powers has nothing to do with the governor himself,” the lawmakers wrote. “It’s also not a commentary on how he has used those powers. This is for the people — about having a process that allows for the proper representation of their will.”
The lawmakers wrote that Democrats in the state Legislature “abdicated what little legislative oversight there was, giving the governor unchecked power indefinitely.”
“Despite members of the Senate and House offering multiple legislative solutions, the Democrats have been entirely unwilling to even discuss the issue,” Braun and Wilcox wrote. “That undermines the people.”
The two GOP leaders acknowledged Inslee did some good work in response to COVID-19, “but it’s stunning that he presents himself as a lifesaver, yet seems afraid to even consider opinions that aren’t his own.”
“It’s one thing to issue proclamations while you still collect a sizable paycheck, but it’s entirely different to live by those proclamations when they leave you unemployed, unable to pay your bills, unable to feed your children and unable to be present when a loved one dies in a hospital or nursing home,” the lawmakers wrote. “The credit here belongs to the people of Washington. Not Jay Inslee.”