MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you about what is becoming a federal issue, and that is what's happening in Wisconsin. This was the scene on Friday in the rotunda in Madison as union workers were protesting the move by the governor of Wisconsin to demand a greater participation on unions in terms of pension contributions, as well as health care contributions, also trying to end collective bargaining in the state. And you see the response there. President Obama did an interview and weighed in on this. This is what he had to say.But Liberals, aren't about elections or Democracy...they're about mob rule. In Wisconsin, the unions, the Democratic Party and Obama's Organizing for America, are trying to overturn last November's election results. They haven't learned the lesson of Texas in 2003-2009...
PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions. And I think it's very important for us to understand that public employees, they're our neighbors, they're our friends.
MR. GREGORY: Senator Graham, did the president do the right thing weighing in to this controversy?
SEN. GRAHAM: I think the president should be focusing on what we're doing in Washington. The president's budget this year is the highest level of spending as a nation--25.3 percent of GDP--since World War II. So that's not the number to use to get this place in, in, in fiscal sanity. We should be looking at the dollars we're actually spending. That's what the House did. But when the president talks about Wisconsin, I think that's--that really is inappropriate. The governor of Wisconsin is doing what he campaigned on. He said he would ask contributions from government employees for pension and for health care at a level that I think is reasonable. And he also put on the table renegotiating and reforming collective bargaining. He told me yesterday it takes 15 months to do a contract with government employees in Wisconsin. And so he's doing what he said. There was an election on his proposals, and he won, and he should be allowed to fulfill his mandate just like the House Republicans.
MR. GREGORY: Senator Durbin, is the White House, is the president, using his own campaign operation, an operation of supporters, to fuel protests in Wisconsin?
SEN. DURBIN: Let me tell you why what's happening in Wisconsin, just north of Illinois, goes way beyond the discussion of the Wisconsin budget. If you think this is just about money and the budget, then you might believe Cesar Chavez was just working to get a couple pennies more per pound for grapes or that Martin Luther King was really working for access to hotels and restaurants. There's a much bigger issue at stake here. For over 80 years in America, we have recognized the rights of our workers to freely gather together, collectively bargain, so that they could have fairness in the workplace and fairness in compensation. And that is what's at stake here. It goes way beyond this budget issue. This governor of Wisconsin is not setting out just to fix a budget, he's setting out to break a union. That is a major move in terms of American history. I believe the president should have weighed in. I think we should all weigh in and say, "Do the right thing for Wisconsin's budget, but do not destroy decades of work to establish the rights of workers to speak for themselves."
SEN. GRAHAM: David, if I could just add, this is a campaign flier I have--I don't know if you can see it--from the last election cycle where Wisconsin unions said, "If you elect this guy, Scott Walker, he's going to reform or limit collective bargaining." He was open about what he was going to do about contributions to pensions and retirement, and he told the people of Wisconsin, "I'm going to change collective bargaining because it is--impedes progress when it comes to education. It's too hard to fire anybody, it is too complicated. And I'm going to change that system." So, in a democracy, when you run on something, you do have an obligation to fulfill your promise. He didn't take anybody by surprise. He's doing exactly what he said. There was a referendum on this issue, and the unions lost. And the Democrats in Wisconsin should come back to Wisconsin to have votes. [emphasis is mine, ed.]
The mess in Wisconsin has happened before. In 2003, faced with a new Republican majority intent on redrawing an electoral map that preserved power for Democrats that the voters no longer gave them, the Texas Democrats fled the state. And in 2009, rather than allow a vote on an election security bill that they didn’t want, the Texas Democrats brought the state legislature to a halt — killing the voter ID bill and everything on the calendar that followed it. . . . So the Democrats are trying to bring both houses of the legislature to a full halt to kill the union bill. It may work, at least temporarily, just by running out the clock. But if what has happened in Texas is any guide, it will be a pyrrhic victory. Democrats in Texas have won very little since the 2003 run to the Red River. And after they filibustered the voter ID bill in 2009, which a heavy majority of the voters supported, they suffered an unholy beating in 2010. The Republicans now have a super majority in the House, and the man who led the filibuster, state Rep. Jim Dunnam, was defeated. He didn’t lose just because of that filibuster, but having that on his record certainly didn’t help him.”It will take decades for the Democrats to recover from their stupidity in Texas...and probably the rest of the country from the current act of their own self destruction. Our country is made up of roughly 25% self described Liberals, 33% Conservatives with the remaining 42% independent/moderates...those moderates are watching what is occuring in Wisconsin very, very closely...and what they see, according to Gallop polling, they don't like. Not even FDR or the founder of the AFL-CIO approved of government employees belonging to unions
Roosevelt openly opposed bargaining rights for government unions. "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government." [emphasis is mine, ed..]The simple fact that the Democratic Senators of the Wisconsin Legislature have abdicated their responsibility to their constituents, and to their state means that for all intents and purposes, they have abandoned their jobs, and their offices. The GOP majority in both houses should peel off those portions of the proposed legislation that are tax-finance based, and require a qourum to pass, and simply pass the rest of their agenda by majority vote. Over at the Chicago Boyz...comes this comment:
Ryan Says: February 19th, 2011 at 11:32 pmIn another thread there, comes this far more telling comment:
Actually, it appears that the three-fifths requirement is only for fiscally-related bills. (See Wisconsin’s Constitution, Art VIII, Sec 8; Wisc. Legislature’s Joint Rule 11(2)) However, for non-fiscal bills, the quorum is only one-half, which the Republicans could muster on their own. (Wisc. Const. Art IV, Sec 7; Wisc. Leg. Joint Rule 11(1); Wisc. Senate Rule 15.) It doesn’t appear that a stand-alone union reform bill would require the three-fifths majority for a quorum, only a simple majority. The Republicans could, theoretically, pass a stand-alone bill reforming public sector union collective bargaining practices (or simply abolishing public sector unions altogether, if they wanted to play hard ball) without needing a single Democratic senator to show up to constitute a quorum. (At least, according to my reading of the relevant Constitutional provisions and legislative rules.) This would take the issue out-of-play for the Democrats vis the remainder of the budget bill, and could bring them back to the table if the Republicans wanted to play hard ball as well (if I’m reading this correctly).
Subotai Bahadur Says:
February 19th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
From what I have seen, Shannon Love is right. The firing will have to be by the school districts. There are other routes available to the governor; assuming that events are not overtaken by violence [I firmly expect the Obama/DNC goons will physically assault the pro-Walker demonstration today. Everybody bring videocams to document!]. This is a cross post from something else I did. If this is not allowed, feel free to delete:
The quorum requirement that covers this bill is from Article VIII, Section 8 [Finance] of the Wisconsin State Constitution. Short form, for all bills having to do with money, the quorum is set at 3/5 of the Chamber. Fair enough. But …budget bills are the only bills that require a 3/5 quorum. All other business is governed by Article IV Section 7, which specifies a quorum for each House of the Legislature to be 50%+1.
Hold the Budget Repair Bill in abeyance until they have an Article VIII quorum. In parallel, start passing a simple one page bill that a) ends all collective bargaining for all government employees in Wisconsin, b) decertifies all public employee unions, and c) creates a joint House-Senate STUDY commission to determine how pay and benefits will be set for state employees. With no Democrats in the Senate, committee hearings should be somewhat quicker than usual. If they stay out of the Capitol, the bill can be passed handily. If any one of them shows up; they get grabbed, cuffed, and stuffed in their chair in chambers [perhaps not literally, but it is a wonderful thought], and the Budget Repair Bill is brought up for a vote.
Indeed, there are a number of bills that are not budgetary in nature that can be started and run through the Senate if they do not show up; bills that Patriots will love and which will make Democrat heads explode. How about proof of citizenship and residence to register to vote? State issued picture ID to cast a ballot? Requiring all candidates for Federal office to file notarized copies of original documents in advance to prove that they meet Constitutional requirements of the office to get on the ballot? How about closing party primaries, if they allow crossover voting now? How about the proposed Federal Constitutional Amendment that would allow 2/3 of the states to void any Federal statute or regulation? This could be fun, and it could be never-ending.
They either come back to the Capitol, or get their a***s handed to them.