Wisconsin Republicans have been using food assistance as a partisan cudgel since 2011, as I've documented here.
And now the GOP-aggrandizing State Supreme Court Court has just given Republicans another chance to steal the poor's meal money - and to further weaken Democratic Gov. Tony Evers by stripping from him the authority to issue pandemic-related emergency orders and thereby jeopardizing $50 million in emergency monthly Federal food aid which will end in May:
Lawmakers were aware of the loss of supplemental benefits before the court struck down the emergency order, but it hasn’t been clear, until now, when the state would begin losing emergency supplemental FoodShare benefits provided by the federal government.
So now we wait to see what political price GOP legislative 'leaders' will extract from the Governor - and how many calories from low-income residents' meals - to keep the food aid flowing.
In other words, what partisan-advantage-for-food-swap can vindictive, power-grabbing and sore-losing Wisconsin Republicans concoct?
Republicans in Wisconsin have been on a partisan power trip ever since voters removed Scott Walker from a governorship which the GOP assumed was theirs in perpetuity.
As if Walker was ensconced in office with the same certainty they'd guaranteed themselves after hiring private lawyers with taxpayer dollars to craft district maps in secret that continue to give Republican legislators more seats and political power than honest mapping would have fairly awarded.
The obvious hostage demand of Evers by legislative Republicans would be control of Federal COVID relief funds - a gubernatorial power which GOP legislators routinely allowed Walker and which Evers has, so far, not handed over.
Review finds Wisconsin has least active full-time legislature in nation since pandemic
And assuming Evers vetoed the unseemly food-for-partisan power grab, Vos would then in full, familiar and breezy insincerity blame Evers for the food aid's loss.
A reach for COVID dollars would be par for Vos's course, as he has used the Speaker's powers for personal staff expansion, repetitive private-attorney hirings, and more assorted lawyering-up by the millions of taxpayer dollars.
Just as he has added more dollars to legislators' receipt-free meal reimbursements, making any trade of public-food-policy-for-partisan-advantage even more repulsive.
And don't think for a moment that Vos who just added public education to his growing, grievance-laden hit list would find leveraging food assistance for partisan opportunity to be a tawdry, tacky step too far.
He's already said he'd ask the State Supreme Court to force Evers to turn over control of the funds.
Remember also this telling precedent: during the pandemic Vos dealt with Democratic State Rep. Jimmy Anderson's perfectly reasonable request for wellness-related modification to in-person Assembly attendance rules with this Speaker's signature spite.
And, after delays, Vos grudgingly budged - by implementing a still-restrictive rule modification without having consulted with Anderson, along with 10 Assembly rule changes unrelated to Anderson's health-based request that enhanced GOP prerogatives and Republican opportunities to override Evers vetoes.
Vos continues to 'lead' through grandstanding and humiliation
But this happens when a party checks its-already-tattered reputation and any remnant of collegial humanity at the Legislature's chambers' doors to protect, use and abuse their secrecy-abetted and illegitimate, gerrymandered command.