In a weekend TV appearance, GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos slammed the veto promises Gov. Scott Walker made with three Republican senators to win their support for the budget, calling the lawmakers “terrorists.”
With a 20-13 GOP majority in the Senate and one of their colleagues an expected no, GOP Sens. Chris Kapenga, Steve Nass and Duey Stroebel refused to support the budget unless changes were made. Vos, R-Rochester, had earlier said the Assembly would not take up any amendments to the budget, so the three senators negotiated a package of vetoes with Walker.
The vetoes included nixing language that would have restricted local ordinances on quarries that produce aggregate for road and construction projects and re-working a provision so school districts can now only have referendums on regularly scheduled primary and general election days.
Vos, appearing Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” called the senators “rogue” and the process “wrong.”
“Frankly I wish Gov. Walker hadn’t negotiated with terrorists. I think that is a bad way to operate the Legislature,” Vos said on the show, which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
“Terrorists? You call them rogue senators and terrorists?” Gousha asked.
“That’s what they are!” Vos said. “You don’t hold somebody hostage for your own personal needs.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald called on Vos to apologize immediately, saying his comments were “beyond inappropriate.”
“Negotiating vetoes is as much a part of the budget process as anything else, and the speaker’s comments demonstrate a weak grasp on the events that transpired in the hours before the budget was passed on the senate floor,” the Juneau Republican said. “I am proud of the Senate Republican caucus for sticking to its principles and delivering a document that prioritized tax relief and education funding, while keeping Wisconsin on sound financial footing heading into the next biennium.”
Stroebel also took issue with Vos’ terrorists comments, saying he hopes Republicans can “move beyond name calling and continue working to implement conservative priorities.”
“Terrorists use violence in an effort to destroy our American way-of-life,” the Saukville Republican said. “To imply fellow Republican legislators are terrorists is the type of hyperbolic rhetoric Wisconsinites are tired of hearing. Wisconsinites expect more of their leaders than to make these kind of personal attacks.”
Vos also said on the show the state’s deal with Foxconn is still on track, despite economic development officials still not sewing up a final contract.
“Nothing is different than it was two weeks ago, other than the fact we are doing the due diligence to get the best deal possible,” he said.
Vos, whose district will get the Foxconn plant in Mt. Pleasant, also was not concerned by President Trump’s recent comments that Foxconn “hopefully” would build in Wisconsin.
“My hope is this is one of those times where President Trump is under promising so that we can over deliver. We don’t want to count our chickens before they’re hatched. We are really confident. The deal has been passed; a lot of the agreement has already been signed. But until the first shovel is in the ground, I can see why he’s trying to say, ‘Let’s make sure that the deal is actually going to get done,'” Vos said.
Vos said Foxconn is already advertising and hiring people and he expects to see a groundbreaking early next year.
Also on UpFront, Raj Shukla, executive director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, discussed why his group and others are opposed to a bill that could open the way for sulfide mining in northern Wisconsin.
“The stakes are far too high to remove protections that have served us well for twenty years,” Shukla said.
Shukla said sulfide mining risks polluting the environment with contaminants that can last thousands of year.
With tourism and agriculture industries relying on clean water to grow and function, “we don’t feel the risk if worth it,” he said.
Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock, another guest on the show, said his experience working in local government and a law firm sets him apart from other candidates in the Supreme Court race.
Screnock said he could be described fairly as a “judicial conservative.”
“I’m running because I believe strongly in the rule of law,” he said. “I believe strongly in the separation of powers, and I think it’s critically important that the court, when it’s doing its work, that it doesn’t overstep its authority and infringe on the role given by the people to the other two branches, our political branches.”
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