Can Moderate Republicans End Wisconsin Stalemate?

Proposal calls for collective bargaining to be cut, but only for two years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 9:21 AM CST
Protesters gather down State Street in Madison, Wis. after a a rally outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.   (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, Steve Apps)
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(Newser) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is determined not to budge on his controversial budget bill and Democratic senators are determined not to return to the state until he does, but a group of moderate Republican senators has proposed a compromise that could end the stalemate. Written by Dale Schultz, who is known for his ability to work across party lines, the proposal still calls for most collective bargaining rights to be cut—but then reinstated in 2013. "Dale is committed to find a way to preserve collective bargaining in the future," his chief of staff tells the Wall Street Journal.

But Democrats have already asked for their own compromise—unions would submit to the financial sacrifices and benefit cuts the bill contains as long as they kept their collective bargaining rights—and neither union leaders nor Democratic senators appear particularly open to Schultz’s proposal. Republicans will likely still control the state senate and assembly in 2013, meaning they could extend the provisions at that point. Another gripe, in Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s words: “Collective bargaining isn't a fiscal issue. If it's OK to collectively bargain in 2013 why isn't it OK today?”

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