Thousands rally outside Wisonsin’s capitol building protesting the proposed budget repair bill. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plans to give a budget address detailing his priorities for the next fiscal year at 5 p.m. ET, but the Republican leader continues to find himself embroiled in a standoff over the current budget with 14 Democratic state senators and their allies in the labor community.
The governor has also declared Tuesday the deadline for action on his budget repair bill, or layoffs and loss of state funding for certain programs would be inevitable.
Tuesday morning, however, Gov. Walker awakens to some new polling data that help explain why his quest to restrict collective bargaining rights for public employees is a very tough sell.
“Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.”
And these data courtesy of our friends at Pew:
“By a modest margin, more say they back Wisconsin’s public employee unions rather than the state’s governor in their continuing dispute over collective bargaining rights. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they side more with the public employee unions, while 31% say they side more with the governor, Scott Walker, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey, conducted Feb. 24-27 among 1,009 adults.”
The Republican Governors Association is going on the air with a 30-second television spot Tuesday in support of Gov. Walker. It’s a part of the organization’s “Stand With Scott” campaign launched last week.
The ad’s narrator concludes the ad by saying, “In Wisconsin, leaders don’t run away from tough problems like the Senate Democrats. Instead, they stand and lead like Governor Scott Walker.”
You can watch the ad here: LINK
AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responded to the ad by pointing to the contributions the RGA has received by the Koch brothers, billionaire businessmen who financially backed Walkers’ election campaign, and actively promote fiscal conservatism and oppose regulation.
“You are known by the company you keep,” said Vale. “If greedy corporate CEOs are working with Gov. Walker to silence the voices of working families, who is standing with working families of Wisconsin?”
PASSING THE BUCK
House Republican leaders have no intention of letting debate on a temporary funding measure drag beyond Tuesday.
When the House passed a seven month spending bill with $61 billion in cuts earlier this month, it spanned five days of floor action, involved four long nights and required consideration of hundreds of amendments, which were allowed under an open rule.
When the GOP’s two-week stopgap with $4 billion in savings hits the floor Tuesday morning, it will be under a closed rule, with one hour of debate and a vote likely by early afternoon.
For reductions, the Republicans have targeted items that President Obama pegged for elimination in his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, such as $650 million in federal highway funds and $368 million spread across four Department of Education programs. The majority of cuts would come from terminating $2.7 billion in earmark funding.
The Obama administration and Senate Democrats would prefer a plan that funds the government for a month, rather than the current GOP proposal that would keep the government up and running through March 18. The additional two weeks would give negotiators a little breathing room to work out a long-term deal to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September.
POLITICO’s David Rogers reports that the administration has made a last-minute push to get House Republicans to back a month-long extension, which triggered a meeting Monday night on Capitol Hill between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
While both men remained mum on the details of their conversation, Speaker Boehner told reporters he was sticking with the original two-week plan drafted by House Republicans. That leaves open the possibility Senate Democrats could amend the soon-to-be-House-passed version and cut $8 billion over 30 days in the hopes that it would entice Republicans who’ve made reining in the size of government a top priority in the new Congress.
THE OBAMA-KAINE TICKET?
The National Republican Senatorial Committee isn’t taking any chances. The committee isn’t waiting for DNC Chairman (and former Virginia governor) Tim Kaine to make his intentions known about whether he’ll seek to replace retiring Sen. Jim Webb before working to soften him up.
The video puts some classic Obama video to use, including his dancing on “Ellen” and his poor bowling performance on the campaign trail in Altoona, Pa.
It also banks on the fact that the stimulus/health care/Pelosi matrix that worked well for Republicans in 2010 will make a repeat performance in 2012.
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