AG Josh Kaul wants the Joint Finance Committee to “promptly” hold a vote on his request for authorization to withdraw from the multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
That’s according to his letter, sent to JFC Co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren yesterday, which came after Kaul on Wednesday sent a separate letter to Gov. Tony Evers informing him only the Legislature has the power to direct the AG to end the state’s participation in the suit.
Darling’s office provided Kaul’s latest letter to WisPolitics.com yesterday evening. Her office at the time said it’s reviewing Kaul’s request, while a Nygren spokesman didn’t have any immediate comment.
The letter Kaul sent to the co-chairs came a day after Evers walked back comments from his State of the State address that he’d directed Kaul to “withdraw” from the lawsuit following GOP blowback that he no longer has that power.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, noted his caucus supported Gov. Scott Walker and AG Brad Schimel in filing the lawsuit against Obamacare, adding his caucus hasn’t discussed a new request to pull out of the case.
“This is just another example of Governor Evers’ reckless disregard for the law,” Vos said. “First, he said he wouldn’t enforce work requirements for welfare recipients, then he made clear he wanted to break this law. The Legislature is a co-equal branch and will be watching carefully for the next law he tries to break.”
Republicans changed state law last month to strip the guv of the power to order an AG to withdraw from a lawsuit, prompting questions from Republicans over Evers’ claim in his State of the State address Tuesday that he’d directed Kaul to make the move.
A day later, Evers’ office said the guv had only withdrawn the original authority that Walker had given former AG Brad Schimel to commence the lawsuit.
A Kaul spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the request sent to lawmakers to pull out of the suit.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, meanwhile, said he was glad Evers was “dropping his lawless action” and appreciated Kaul siding with Republicans “to respect the rule of law.”
“Hopefully, Governor Evers will respect the process moving forward,” Fitzgerald said.
Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff insisted the controversy over Evers’ original comments and the letter was a GOP-created distraction.
“Republicans know that people don’t support their plans to gut the Affordable Care Act and are desperate to change the conversation,” she said. “But the real story isn’t complicated — the governor is ready to move forward with protecting the healthcare of millions of Wisconsinites.”
Read Kaul’s letter to Evers:
See Kaul’s letter to the JFC: