News & Brews August 23, 2021

Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Subscribe here!

Two U.S. senators accuse PHEAA CEO of lying before Congress

Well, this is a fine mess. Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana have accused the CEO of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) of lying before Congress. The accusation stems from testimony by PHEAA CEO James Steeley in which he said the PHEAA had not been penalized for loan-servicing errors when, in reality, PHEAA was fined twice in 2020. Steeley said that in “hindsight,” some of his answers “were not as clear as they could have been.” The Inquirer has the story (paywall).

Trouble in the GOP ranks over election audit

On Friday, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman asked Sen. Cris Dush to take over for Sen. Doug Mastriano in conducting a forensic audit of last year’s election. In a sternly worded statement, Corman said, “It is deeply disappointing that Senator Mastriano has retreated from conducting a forensic investigation of the election in Pennsylvania, and it is discouraging to realize that he was only ever interested in politics and showmanship and not actually getting things done.” Just prior to this news breaking, Mastriano had issued a press release, noting, “Rumors are rife of a plan, on the part of senate leadership, to move the investigation from my committee to a different committee….If that happens, I have little confidence that a real investigation will ever take place.” Amid all this, Corman also reassigned Mastriano’s Capitol staff to other senate offices. I guess I’ll go hide my “can’t we just all get along” sticker (just kidding—I own no such thing).

Wolf reinstates mask mandate for state workers

Gov. Wolf on Friday reinstated a mask mandate for state workers and contractors, regardless of vaccination status. The new mandate goes into effect today and, of course, raises the question of how soon until Wolf tries to re-implement such a mandate statewide.

PA Treasurer Garrity on “Joe Biden’s Afghanistan disaster”

Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a retired Army Reserve Colonel who served in Iraq, penned a blistering op-ed in Broad + Liberty stating that President Biden’s mechanism of withdrawal from Afghanistan “will go down in history as one of our nation’s biggest blunders.”

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox