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February 25, 2011

WI Assembly Passes Budget Bill, Most Assembly Democrats Didn't Notice

After 60 hours of debate, the state Assembly passed Governor Walker's Budget Repair bill, which among other things limits the bargaining rights of Wisconsin's public sector employees.

The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it appear far from over.

The Assembly's vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote and say they won't return unless Republican Gov. Scott Walker agrees to discuss a compromise. Republicans who control the Senate sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

...Democrats launched a filibuster, throwing out dozens of amendments and delivering rambling speeches. Each time Republicans tried to speed up the proceedings, Democrats rose from their seats and wailed that the GOP was stifling them.

Debate had gone on for 60 hours and 15 Democrats were still waiting to speak when the vote started around 1 a.m. Friday. Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, opened the roll and closed it within seconds.

Democrats looked around, bewildered. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time.

Republicans immediately marched out of the chamber in single file. The Democrats rushed at them, pumping their fists and shouting "Shame!" and "Cowards!"

The Republicans walked past them without responding.

I love the idea that any Democrat can call a Republican a coward while praising state Senate Democrats who ran away and hid rather than exercise their sworn duties.

While this is the first hurdle for the plan, the Senate still can't act on major portions of the bill so the focus remains on forcing Democrats to do their constitutional duty and actually to the jobs they were elected to do.

Meanwhile for practical and possibly political reasons, Walker is still opposed to splitting the the collective bargaining measures (which doesn't require the presence of Senate Democrats) from the budget cuts (which does).

I still think its important to keep it intact. Because one [part of the bill] goes with the other. If you fail to get one, it makes it hard to balance the rest of the budget. So our hope, our focus is still on trying to figure out a way to make it possible for those state senate Democrats to get back.

Meanwhile, our new Golden Age of Civility continues. The networks simply refuse to report on Democratic Congressman who called for union violence, as if they need someone to tell them to do that. .


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posted by DrewM. at 11:50 AM

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