Which is to say: the result was an epic fail.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers after discovering a way to bypass the chamber's missing Democrats.
All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker's so-called "budget repair bill" -- a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall.
The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday split from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, and a special conference committee of state lawmakers approved that bill a short time later.
The move set up a vote in the Senate, which voted mere moments later.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald blasted the fleebagging Democrats:
After nearly a month of debate on the budget repair bill, nearly three weeks of childish stunts and delay tactics from the Democrats, the longest public hearing in state history and the longest Assembly debate in state history, the Senate met tonight to pass the non-fiscal items in the Budget Repair Bill...
Before the election, the Democrats promised “adult leadership” in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job... In doing so, they have tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate. This is unacceptable.
This afternoon, following a week and a half of line-by-line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take our counter-offer, which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.
With that letter, I realized that we’re dealing with someone who is stalling indefinitely, and doesn’t have a plan or an intention to return. His idea of compromise is “give me everything I want,” and the only negotiating he’s doing is through the media.
Enough is enough. ...The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job. They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy. The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can’t act on our agenda.
Tonight, the Senate will be passing the items in the budget repair bill that we can, with the 19 members who actually DO show up and do their jobs. Those items include the long-overdue reform of collective bargaining needed to help local governments absorb these budget cuts, and the 12 percent health care premium and 5 percent pension contribution.
We have confirmed with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau that every item in tonight’s bill follows the letter of the law.
The people of Wisconsin elected us to come to Madison and do a job. Just because the Senate Democrats won’t do theirs, doesn’t mean we won’t do ours.
Well done, Leader Fitzgerald. Well done.
Well done, Governor Walker. Well done.
One wishes that the Republican leaders in Congress were this brave.
Hat tip: D&S.