Republican Governor Scott Walker issued an ultimatum to AWOL state Democrat senators: return in 24 hours for a vote or the state will lose out on critical debt restructuring.
If you haven’t heard the news, the 14 Democrat Wisconsin state senators refusing to show up for a “call of the house,” a demand call to perform sworn duties – can legally be taken into custody by Wisconsin State Troopers and escorted to the State Capitol building.
Walker’s two-year state budget cuts $1 billion in spending. The full 14 Democrats left the state rather than vote on what is referred to as the “budget repair bill.” If passed, which will happen if one Democrat shows up in the senate to vote, Wisconsin’s public sector unions will lose some of their power – meaning the power to hold the state’s fiscal health and stability hostage:
What began as one small state trying to rewrite the rules of labor relations has blown up into what could be the biggest confrontation with American labor unions since then President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981…
The Wisconsin proposal would require public sector employees to pay more for pensions and health care, strip some of their unions of bargaining rights except for wages up to the rate of inflation and require yearly recertification votes.
The proposal was approved by the state Assembly last week but is stalled in the Senate because the 14 Democrats have fled the state to avoid a vote.
The proposal includes a restructuring of the state’s debt that Walker said would save $165 million. Walker said this restructuring deal was in doubt if the Democrats did not return. Source: Reuters
Why would Democrats take to the highway and cross state lines to keep from voting, when the Senate Majority Leader called the vote? First among several reasons (from NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard):
“…one out of every five dolars raised by those Democratic senators in the past two election cycles came from public employees, such as teachers and firefighters, and their unions…”
According to records compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the 14 Senate Democrats have raised a total of $1.9 million in campaign dollars since the start of 2007. Out of that sum, public employee unions and individual government workers contributed at least $344,000.
Sheppard says there is virtually no reporting on this story, even though one senator received one-third of his campaign cash from unions and public employees. Read also the disparity between reporting on the conservative Koch Brothers – 500 stories on them – compared to ONE on union pandering. Read Noel’s commentary – there’s much more.
Newly inaugurated Governor Scott Walker and the GOP have stood against the tyranny of Wisconsin Democrats. To echo the paraphrased words of Barack Obama, “we won, you lost.” “It’s okay if Democrats come along for the ride, but hey, you have sit in the backseat.” Get your arses back down to the Capitol and represent your constitutients by voting’ no’ for the bill that will save your state, and the good people of Wisconsin will drop a love note in November 2012. Can’t wait for it. As always Memorandum is on top of this story. Check out their discussion here.