Republicans decided to split the budget repair measure into two parts, removing the fiscal portion of the bill in order to pass the part dealing with collective bargaining.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald explained the reason for the action in a statement issued Wednesday:
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.
After the vote, however, an angry mob stormed the Capitol building in Madison in a scene reminiscent of the protests in Cairo. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Surging past security, the demonstrators reclaimed the Capitol rotunda - the site of nearly three weeks of continuous protests.
The scene took on the intensity and passion of the early days of the protests after senators voted on a bill Wednesday with none of their Democratic colleagues present.
Outside, protesters chanted "Let us in," banged drums and blew horns in protest and threw snowballs at windows of the Capitol.
Inside, they yelled "You lied to Wisconsin" and "Kill the Bill."
Republican Senators were told to leave the Capitol because "it was not safe."
Speaking to Fox News' Greta van Susteren, state Senator Glenn Grothman said they were required to leave under police protection 15 minutes after the vote.
“We were told to get out of Madison as quickly as possible,” he said.
Ann Althouse writes that protesters have locked the Capitol doors with handcuffs, and the building is swarming with angry protesters. According to her husband who was at the Capitol:
"ANYBODY CAN GET IN AND ANYBODY CAN BRING ANYTHING IN. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SECURITY WHATEVER."
According to a post at Hot Air, filmmaker Michael Moore told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow the vote means "war."
The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to convene Thursday morning to "finish the job." As Hot Air observes, the scene is sure to be chaotic:
Needless to say, if you’re in Wisconsin and planning to attend what’s sure to be a mega-protest tomorrow as the assembly convenes to pass the senate bill, make sure to bring a camera of some sort. The examples of “new tone” in action should be exquisite.
The move did manage to convince Senate Democrats to return to Madison after hiding out in Illinois for three weeks, according to the Journal Sentinel:
Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) said they would be back by Thursday. They had been able to block a vote on the bill for three weeks because 20 senators had to be present to vote for it. Republicans control the house 19-14…
Democrats decried the move and warned it could end the political careers of some Republican senators who are under the threat of recall.
“I think it’s akin to political hara-kiri,” said Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar). “I think it’s political suicide.”…
State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said Wednesday night he attempted to drive back from Illinois to Madison to get to the Capitol before Republicans passed the measure.
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Joe will discuss this issue - among others - with Craig Shaull at We Are America Radio Monday night at 7 pm Pacific time.