While Democrats are now outraged that the state senate voted last night on the budget repair bill without Democrats present, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett encouraged Republicans to do just that on Monday night.
During an interview with conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes, Barrett said:
BARRETT: You could vote on those without those missing senators. You could vote on those tomorrow morning. You don’t need 20 senators to vote on those changes to the collective bargaining. Again, if someone really wanted to end this standoff, the way you would end it is simply have a separate vote.
SYKES: Would you favor that?
BARRETT: I would certainly favor that.
Barrett, who lost to Scott Walker in the November gubernatorial election, went on to argue that Republicans wouldn't vote on a standalone measure to restrict collective bargaining because it couldn't pass.
Barrett was asked about these comments during a radio interview on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ this morning. “I’ve been saying all along that you have to take the non-budgetary items out of the budget bill. But what they did was they violated state law. They operated like this is a banana republic," said Barrett, arguing that the state senate violated the state's open meetings law by not giving 24 hours notice before voting on the bill. "This was a clear, clear offense against the people of the state of Wisconsin.” (Wisconsin senate chief Clerk Ron Marchant says that the vote "appears to have satisfied the requirements of the rules and statutes.")
Barrett went on to criticize Republicans for "taking away the rights to collectively organize," as he put it.
What Barrett called for in his interview Monday night--separate votes on collective bargaining restrictions and increasing government workers' health care and pension contributions--was not precisely what senate Republicans did last night. They did, in fact, vote on both provisions in the same bill. But his comments still undercut the outrage we're now seeing from senate Democrats. In his interview, Barrett conceded in principle that voting without Democrats present was ethical, legal, and indeed something he "would certainly favor."