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


"Your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members," Kucinich said. "Can you please explain to me how much money this provision saves for your state budget?"

"That particular part doesn't save any," Walker responded.

The state of Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau, a nonpartisan state budget agency, released a letter stating certain provisions of the collective bargaining proposal were of a "non-fiscal policy nature" that did not affect the budget shortfall. 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 directly behind Walker while wearing their work uniforms, hoping to remind him 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.'"

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.

"Governor Walker's bold reforms seem reasonable to those of us in Washington who understand that our retirement and healthcare system at the federal level is not subject to collective bargaining," Issa said.

Cummings asked Issa to include Gov. Shumlin of Vermont on the witness list to allow "the Committee to obtain a wider and more balanced range of views on these issues."

"As the executive of a state in the process of navigating its own projected budget shortfall, Governor Shumlin will provide valuable insight as his state and the entire country continue to recover from recent economic recession," Cummings wrote in a letter to Issa. "Governor Shumlin will also bring a perspective that is markedly different than that of the majority's witness, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker."

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