We have reached the seventh consecutive day of union protest in Madison in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit government employees’ ability to collectively bargain. Here is where things stand:
- Every Senate Democrat remains a member of the Absentee Caucus. The entire caucus remains in exile in Rockford, Illinois. With 19 Republicans in the Senate, at least one Democrat is needed to reach a quorum to allow a vote on any budget bill. One Democrat even argued that by fleeing the state, they are “standing up for democracy.” Gov. Walker pointed out that attendance is a necessary precursor to participation in the democratic process.
- There is an unacceptable “compromise” on the table. Republican Sen. Dale Schultz, always considered a squishy vote on this issue, has offered a compromise proposal that would temporarily restrict collective bargaining for public employees only to reinstate it in 2013. This will not solve the long-term problem that government unions pose. Governor Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald remain committed to the original plan; Fitzgerald met with every member of his caucus over the weekend and claims they are “rock solid” in support of the governor’s plan.
- Republicans are standing strong, and need our support. Their mettle is being tested, and they have not wavered to this point. But the hysteria on the left is not subsiding. News outlets reported 70,000 protestors in Madison yesterday, and demonstrations will continue this week. President Obama has opted to ignore his budgetary obligations in Washington and get involved in Wisconsin’s business, calling Gov. Walker’s plan an “assault on unions.” And the president’s political arm, Organizing for America, is spending serious money in an attempt to kill the bill. But the GOP has indicated it will not blink. Gov. Walker has become a hero to the national conservative movement, but leaders in the legislature like Leader Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald need to know they have our support as well. Compromise plans like that offered by Sen. Schultz would throw away the hard work and leadership of these principled lawmakers at a time when Wisconsin needs it most.
A few assorted links:
- The Heritage Foundation is on the ground in Wisconsin and has put together a great video deconstructing some union talking points.
- Teachers across the state called in sick last week to protest this bill. Many of them were enabled by doctors writing phony sick notes.
- Again from Heritage, a great interview with Gov. Walker.
- In the Wall Street Journal, John Fund on what’s at stake in this fight.