It doesn’t look as if Senate Democrats will be back in Madison anytime soon. Governor Scott Walker held another Capitol press conference on Monday, in which he said a letter (PDF) from state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, asking for a meeting near the Wisconsin-Illionois state line, to discuss the budget repair bill, was ridiculous. “Yesterday, I authorized two members of my administration to travel to South Beloit, to go across the state line,” said Walker. “Exactly what Senator Miller is asking to be done in the future in this letter, we did yesterday.”
“It’s the most frustrating process I’ve ever been involved in ’cause you really don’t know who to talk to,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “You really don’t know who can deliver, and at the end of the day, the only way to negotiate is to lay out a list of items that are on the table, and can’t even get that far.”
“For us to move forward, we need to have reasonable and responsible elected officials stand up and decide it is time to set aside those who would stand in the way, and instead figure out a reasonable pathway home, a pathway we’ve offered multiple times in the past two weeks, and we’re willing to continue to offer,” Walker said. Walker referred to a meeting which toll place last week between Fitzgerald, and Democratic Senators Bob Jauch and Tim Cullen. “Goveror Walker suggested that we were doing this to find a pathway back to Wisconsin. That’s absolutely false,” said Jauch. “We made it clear that we wanted to collect protective bargaining, we were protecting the workers, we wanted the best possible deal supported by the public.”
“We’ve been very honest and open about why we’re doing what we’re doing, and what we’ve gotten in return are resolutions dealing with our staffs, our paychecks, copy machines, parking sports and now being arrested,” said Senator Job Erpenbach, another of the 14 Democrats. “We had thought that there was going to be some pretty substantial movement on Thursday, and then they passed the resolution having us arrested.”
Walker suggested during the press conference that Miller was obstructing progress on negotiations and was no longer clearly in control of the caucus, an allegation both Jauch and Erpenbach refuted.