During an interview the Wisconsin governor said two weeks of protests hadn't swayed him from no-compromise position
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared on Meet the Press Sunday morning to discuss the controversial bill that would end collective bargaining for most public workers in his state. The legislation has catalyzed a national event, as 14 democratic senators fled the state to forestall a vote and thousands of state employees descended on the Capitol building in Madison for nearly two weeks of protests. In the interview, Walker adamantly defended the bill and appeared steadfast in his refusal to compromise. NBC’s David Gregory pushed the governor to touch on a number of issues — from his refusal to accept the concessions offered by state union officials to the prank caller the governor mistakenly believed to be David Koch earlier this week.
“Actions speak louder than words,” according to Walker, who said that Wisconsin labor leaders can’t guarantee the concessions they’ve promised. Walker also explained how statewide union officials spoke of meeting halfway with the governor, but local unions were unwilling to compromise.
Walker repeatedly invoked his time as a county executive to try to demonstrate his grasp of the issues at hand — that compromise isn’t an option because collective bargaining has to be done in every district:
As a local official, I can tell you personally, time and time again, because of collective bargaining when we have tough budgets in the past — I tried to do modest changes to pension, I tried to do modest changes to healthcare… The unions said forget it, emboldened by by the fact that they had collective bargaining agreements. They said, ‘go ahead, literally lay off four- or five-hundred people,’ and to me, laying off people in this economy is completely unacceptable.
Walker echoed earlier statements warning that layoffs would be necessary unless the absent Democratic senators return to pass his bill.
He also justified exemptions in the bill for police officers and firefighters, saying it wasn’t a “value judgment about employees,” but that the service provided by those public employees was essential, and the state couldn’t afford to have a “gap in service,” should those officials walk off the job.
More Related Stories
- Illinois' fracking and coal rush is a national crisis
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11