Workers' Uprising: Walker Unveils Disastrous New Budget, Threatens Democrats With Teacher Layoffs; Protesters Ejected from Speech
Continued from previous page
There's no mistaking the feeling that Saturday's 100,000-strong rally was the high water mark, and that nothing going forward can match that kind of outpouring. After all, the students and teachers and workers who have walked out of their classrooms and jobs can't do so forever. They have families to feed, bills to pay, classes to pass.So how do organizers—including the national unions, several of which are digging in for the long term, renting Madison office space and hiring staffers—plan to maintain their momentum? The most obvious strategy is putting more pressure on the three or four Republicans in the state Senate who might be wavering about Republican Governor Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill. Then there are the 14 state Senate Democrats who fled the state on February 18 to prevent the state senate from voting on Walker's budget bill; one called it a "filibuster on feet." If even one returns to work, Republicans will have a quorum and the bill can pass. Plenty of ideas have been floated to keep those senators busy, including taking them on a national tour to raise money and drum up support for their cause. But for now they're simply biding their time in Illinois, doing the occasional TV appearance and closely watching the events back home.
Update: Amanda Terkel reports for the Huffington Post that GOP leaders in Madison are becoming downright petty:
In a motion submitted to the Committee on Senate Organization on Monday and obtained by The Huffington Post, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) proposed that while the senators remain away, all Democratic staffers must have his office sign off on their timesheets and will lose access to office copy machines...
When asked what the motion's result would be, one Democratic staffer said, "I'll guess we'll just have to scan things."
Update: At the Washington Post's website, Greg Sargent reports that GOP lawmakers in the Wisconsin legislature are outraged at the prospect of a compromise being struck with the state's public employees.
I'm told that some Republicans in the state senate were so angry at fellow Republican senator Dale Schultz for proposing a modest compromise with unions and senate Dems that they actually threatened at a private meeting to kick him out of the state senate GOP caucus.
This comes to me by way of a source close to the situation. While the idea didn't go anywhere, and it didn't appear to have the support of Wisconsin GOP leaders, it shows how high tensions are running among Wisconsin Republicans who are under heavy pressure from unions, Dems and mass demonstrations to break with Walker.