Entries in Gov. Scott Walker (7)


DNC Chair Slams Wis. Gov. Walker for Equal Pay Repeal

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- The Democratic National Committee chairwoman called out Republican Gov. Scott Walker today for repealing Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, a law intended to lower the cost for plaintiffs suing employers for pay discrimination.

“He tried to quietly repeal the Equal Pay Act. Women aren’t going to stand for that,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The law allowed for victims to sue employers in state court which is often less expensive than filing in federal court.

The Republican controlled state Senate passed the measure in November, followed by passage in the state Legislature in February. Walker then repealed it Thursday.

“The focus of the Republican Party on turning back the clock for women really is something that’s unacceptable and shows how callus and insensitive they are towards women’s priorities,” the Florida congresswoman said.

National Republicans have yet to comment on the Wisconsin repeal but the Obama campaign has seized the opportunity to tie Walker’s law to Mitt Romney, who has argued that women voters in 2012 only care about pocketbook issues.

“Does Romney think women should have ability to take their bosses to court to get the same pay as their male coworkers? Or does he stand with Governor Walker against this?” Obama campaign representative Lis Smith said Friday.

Republicans have been accused of waging a war on women since speaking out against President Obama’s health care law that requires insurance companies to pay for female contraceptives.

Many religious employers objected to the rule so the administration carved out an exception for religious institutions. But Republicans, in turn, have characterized the battle as a fight for religious freedom.

But not all Democrats are convinced that the GOP is intentionally attacking women. Rep Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, defended Republicans while on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying that it would be “wrong” to accuse Republicans of waging a war on women.

“We have got to quit exaggerating our political differences,” said Cleaver, who is also a Methodist pastor.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been dismissive of attacks by Democrats, comparing their concerns to a “war on caterpillars.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Predicts Victory in Wisconsin Primary

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images(FITCHBURG, Wis.) — Mitt Romney predicted victory in the upcoming primary in Wisconsin during a visit at Gov. Scott Walker’s phone bank, describing his campaign in the state for the Republican presidential nomination as an “uphill battle” that now looks like it’s “going to win.”

“I have to tell you this. It feels better and better,” said Romney, who dropped by the call center alongside Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. “The support for my campaign is growing stronger and stronger. This was an uphill battle for me if you look back three or four weeks ago, and now we’re looking like we’re going to win this thing on Tuesday.

“But I’ve got to have you guys get out and vote,” Romney added.

Asked what a victory in Wisconsin will mean to him, Romney said that his focus is shifting toward President Obama but he’s not assuming the nomination yet.

“You know, I think all of us in the contest are focusing more and more on President Obama, as we should,” Romney said. “I think his failures are becoming more glaring to the American people. He’s begun his national campaign from what I read, he’s making speeches that sound like the start of a campaign, and I think you’re seeing all four of us that are in the race still focusing on him.

“I’ve got a ways to go before I get 1,144 delegates, so I’m not counting the delegates before they hatch,” he said. “But I’m going to keep working very hard and hope I get a good strong sendoff from Wisconsin. I got a good boost from the folks in Illinois, and if I can get that boost also from Wisconsin, I think we’ll be on a path that will get me the nomination well before the convention. Sure hope so.”

As Romney and Ryan entered the call center, a group of about 30 protestors stood behind barricades yelling.

Romney and Ryan, stepping out of an SUV, turned and waved at the group, who chanted “Shame! Shame!” and then “Recall Walker!”

Walker will face a recall election this June after he orchestrated a law that cuts public employees’ collective bargaining rights in the state.

Romney, who earlier this week spoke encouragingly about Walker’s chances, repeated the praise today.

“And I applaud your governor. What an extraordinary man. What a guy, what a guy. I had the privilege of campaigning for Scott Walker, and caring very deeply about his election,” said Romney.

“It would have been a lot easier for Gov. Walker just to go along and get along, just kick the ball down the field and give people whatever they want, but he has convictions and his convictions are focused on the interests of the people of Wisconsin,” said Romney. “And for that reason, he’s going to get re-elected in June by the work you’re doing.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Recall Vote Could Embolden Dems, Limit GOP Cost-Cutting

ABC News Radio(MADISON, Wis.) -- Wisconsin voters head to the polls Tuesday in six recall elections that both political parties stress have implications not just for the Badger State but the entire country.

Outside groups on both sides have poured in millions of dollars for television advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.  Democrats hope to take three of the seats to flip the state Senate from Republican to Democratic control, and also set the stage for similar collective bargaining and budget fights in other states.

Six Republican state Senators are facing recall votes Tuesday in mostly tight races that will depend on voter turnout in an unusual summer election, when much of the electorate are thinking more about vacations than going to the polls.

Joe Heim, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, said Democrats appear to have more enthusiasm but it's a tossup at this point.

"It looks right now like two seats are leaning Democratic and two are in the tossup category," he said.  "Two of the races were leaning Republican up until this week, which seems to be picking up a trend that the Democrats may do better than expected."

The recall effort began in January when Republican Gov. Scott Walker assumed office and Republicans gained control of the state legislature, putting forward a budget aimed at austerity and limiting the rising costs of public employee benefits by ending collective bargaining for all public workers except police and firefighters.

Democrats in the state legislature fled the state and went into hiding to avoid voting on the measure, while thousands of protesters on both sides of the issue flooded the state capitol to protest or support Walker's move.  After Walker signed the legislation, Democrats began gathering signatures on petitions to recall specific Senators who were eligible.  Republicans responded in kind, saying Democrats abandoned their duty.

Enough signatures were gathered to target six Republicans and two Democrats.  If the Senate does change hands, Democrats could overturn Walker's legislation.

The level of campaign spending has been unprecedented, especially considering it is a recall effort, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.  Spending through Monday was estimated at about $28 million from outside groups on both sides of the aisle and about $5 million spent by the candidates themselves.

That number was expected to increase by Tuesday.  Wisconsin Democracy Campaign officials "estimate at this point it's about even," research director Mike Buelow said of spending on both sides.

The group will do a full accounting of spending after the election and will have a clearer picture of whether the spending totals are even.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Testify on State Debt, Workers' Rights

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify on an issue that catapulted him onto the national scene -- ways to handle state debt.

Walker is appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in a hearing titled "State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead."

"In Wisconsin we're making the tough choices today so we don't leave an even larger problem for the next generation," Walker said earlier this week. "I believe that by demonstrating a commitment to the future we will give businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs. Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., invited the Republican governor to testify on state debt based on his efforts to rein in Wisconsin's spending and deal with public employee pension programs.

"Rather than kick the can down the road in Wisconsin, Governor Walker's actions to cut spending and address over-compensation of public employees are putting his state government in a stronger financial position," committee chairman Darrell Issa said in a statement earlier this week.

Earlier this year, Walker sparked a political uproar in Wisconsin when he enacted legislation with steep budget cuts and took away collective bargaining rights of public workers.

But many Wisconsin workers and Democrats felt the legislation unfairly stripped union workers of their rights. Three of these workers affected by the legislation -- a nurse, firefighter, and nursing home worker -- came to Washington to sit in the audience today while wearing their work uniforms, hoping to remind Walker of the way his decisions hurt workers back home.

Jackie McElroy, a 42 year old nursing home worker from Milwaukee, Wis., said Walker is taking away workers' rights under the guise of fixing the state's budget.

"He's trying to take away my rights to bargaining. He's cutting all our funds, money for schooling, which would affect our children's education," McElroy told ABC News. ""It's not about the budget. It's about taking our rights away."

"What Governors and House Republicans are not focused on is the single best way to fix their budget problems – by putting people back to work," the SEIU said in a press release. "Gov. Scott Walker is the wrong governor to hold up as a good example of how to run a state. Gov. Walker is running Wisconsin into the ground and dividing the state into 'two Wisconsins.'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Protesters to Take Fight to the Polls

ABC News Radio(MADISON, Wis.) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won the battle with unions in his state by stripping most of their collective bargaining rights in what he claimed was an effort to reduce the budget deficit.

But state and local workers maintain that the war with Walker and the Republicans who voted for his measure is far from over.

Critics say the real goal of the GOP is to weaken Democrats in 2012, who traditionally receive backing from unions.  If that's true, the strategy may have backfired.

Democrats in Wisconsin now say they'll turn every local election into a referendum on Walker's governing and those who support him.

With other Republican governors taking the lead from Walker, hoping to dismantle unions and in turn leaving Democrats without a major backer, the Democratic Party is now determined to fight the battle to preserve the rights of government workers in every red state.

The test of union anger in Wisconsin will come as early as April 5, when voters go the polls to elect a new Supreme Court justice who may hear challenges to the new law.  On the same day, voters will also pick a new Milwaukee County executive, which was Walker's job before he became governor.

Next summer, as many as 16 senators could face recall and they're split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  The GOP would have to lose three seats to lose control of the state Senate chamber.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wisc. Standoff Intensifies: Walker Won't Relent, Dems Won't Return

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a news conference on Monday ratcheted up pressure on the 14 absent Senate Democrats to return to Madison. Walker singled out Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller as the “barrier” to their return, noting “a handful” of the other Democrats have signaled that they wish to return soon.

Walker did not offer any indication that he would relent on his proposal to end most collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters “we are not flexible on this piece.”

Senate Democrats, who fled the state more than two weeks ago, have given conflicting signals on their willingness to return.  Earlier Monday, Miller asked Walker and Fitzgerald for a new meeting “near the Illinois border.”  Walker dismissed the invitation as “ridiculous,” noting that his representatives have held numerous conversations with the missing Democrats. 

The governor is clearly attempting to discredit Miller, suggesting the Democratic leader is beholden “to union bosses in Washington.”  Since the Democrats left on Feb. 17, the Wisconsin standoff has set off a raging national debate on the role of public employee unions.  But most recent polls suggest Wisconsin’s newly elected Republican governor is losing political support, particularly among independent voters, for his proposal to dismantle union rights for state employees.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wisconsin Republicans Threaten Missing Dems with Contempt

Photo Courtesy - Mark Hirsch/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- The Wisconsin standoff escalated a notch Thursday when Senate Republicans threatened to hold their missing Democratic colleagues in contempt if they don’t return to the chamber in Madison by 4 p.m. Central time Thursday.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said, “They’re insulting the very fabric of our representative democracy.”  The 14 Senate Democrats have been hiding out in Illinois since February 17th to stall a vote on Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to dismantle collective bargaining for state employee unions.  Fitzgerald said the Democrats could be taken into custody if they enter Wisconsin.  Attorneys who drafted the contempt order point to precedents including the U.S. Capitol Police carrying “Senator Bob Packwood feet first into the Senate chamber” when the Senate ordered the arrest of absent senators to fulfill a quorum during a campaign finance debate in 1988.

Democratic Senator Spencer Coggs told ABC News the stalemate “has taken an ugly turn” and that Republicans were attempting to be “punitive” instead of negotiating in good faith. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio