Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Vos' latest power maneuver goes too far

WI GOP pols have found yet another way to undo their 2018 statewide defeat and pretend Walker is still Governor.

Bad enough that the GOP-gerrymandered Wisconsin Legislature adopted and Walker signed 11th-hour laws which restricted the powers of incoming Democratic officials who won statewide offices fair-and-square.

Bad enough that the GOP-friendly State Supreme Court gave that whole stinking process their official OK.

Bad enough that the Legislature is right now voting on a state budget that short-changes public education, does not fund needed road and bridge repairs, and turns away available Federal Medicaid funding which could cover more Wisconsinites and save state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Bad enough that the GOP-led Senate would consider enticing a possible recalcitrant Republican unsure if he will vote for the budget to the "yes" column with a so-called 'sweetener' to boost what he calls a no-profit hobby business.

Update: the legislator says the sweetening amendment does not secure his vote. Stay tuned.

Further update: But his vote is secured. Whew!!

And while Walker and his legislative lieutenants publicly claimed that they were not tampering with existing gubernatorial veto powers, they've now found a way through language tinkering not applied to Walker's budgets to do just that.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters ahead of his chamber’s scheduled floor vote Tuesday the changes also seek to safeguard the Republican-backed budget from Gov. Tony Evers' powerful line-item veto authority. 
"The vast majority of what’s inside the amendment is our effort to line-item-veto-proof it as much as possible," the Rochester Republican said. 
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg
It's clear that the GOP legislature, egged on by Walker, intends to do what US Senate GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did to President Obama: obstruct every initiative, put special-interest service and partisan advantage over public policy, play fast-and-loose with procedures regardless of precedents and try and make the Democrat a one-term chief executive.

Evers can veto the entire state budget over this wholesale hijacking of fairness, precedent, voters' intent and sound state budgeting.

Wisconsin can go for a long time without a new budget; existing funding levels and programs remain in place, though you can expect a massive propaganda blitz against Evers which is no doubt already in the can were he to call the Republicans' bluff.

The Walkerites had their extensive lame-duck package ready to go when the boss was defeated in November, and I suspect the media ads and online campaigns have been cut, pasted, beta-tested, and are parked in 'send' mode for launch were Evers to tell the GOP to take their 'budget' and shove it.

I don't know what will happen, and it's unclear if the GOP is trying to goad Evers into a full-budget veto, and I can't tell if enough line-item options remain to remake the GOP budget into a palatable plan.

But I do know a Governor cannot function so boxed in, and that caving to the dictates of an arrogant  petty, game-playing, power-hungry and gerrymandered Legislature will only lead to its heightened appetite for control and longer-term permanence

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