While Gov. Scott Walker went to Washington D.C. to discuss how he is balancing the $3.6 billion budget deficit, the Democratic Congressmen used it to villify the governor’s moves to limit most collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) asked Walker what the savings to the state budget are from the requirement public union’s hold annual certification votes.
Walker explained the he felt it was a matter of giving public worker’s the right to choose whether they wanted to remain in unions or not. But ultimately, he admitted that the provision had no effect on the state’s budget position.
Kusinich jumped on the answer and waved a copy of a Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau report that was used to determine what portions of the Budget Repair Bill were fiscal and non-fiscal. The report stated the collective bargaining and union operation changes were not fiscal.
“We are going through a great debate here,” Kusinich said. “Do we show respect to public employees and the work they do or do we auction government off to the highest bidder. Gov. Walker has done as a public service by exposing this mindset of auction off our services, bringing it to the public’s attention.”
Other Democrat representatives brought up the hiring of 27-year-old to a high-ranking state office and demanded that Walker apologize for the situation, reviewed contributions to Walker’s campaign by third-parties and campaign statements that they felt were insincere. Walker said when he learned of hiring of a lobbyiest’s son to a high-level job, he immediately asked his office to look into it and put in someone better qualified.
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) continued to push for the apology, but was cut off by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California). He explained the members of the panel could speak about anything they wished during their 5-minute time, but the witnesses – Gov. Walker and Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-Vermont) – didn’t have to answer off the topic of government debt and budgets.
Braley responded that if this committee’s role is to find examples of good government they should also look at questionable practices, such as cronyism. He requested the committee follow-up with another hearing to look into those practices at the state and local level.
The hearing continues on C-SPAN 3 and online.