March 15, 2011- The political consequences for Republicans in Wisconsin are paying dividends for Democrats in DC.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is now pressuring House Speaker John Boehner to make a choice: negotiate with us, or side with the conservatives in your party, whom he described on a conference call with reporters Tuesday as "Scott Walker Republicans… using the budget to try and shoot the moon on [right wing] policy measures."
This is of a piece with Schumer's heads-you-lose, tails-you-lose offer to Boehner Monday, to dismiss the tea party constituency in his caucus and reach a bipartisan spending agreement with Democrats. Now he's citing Republican defectors as evidence that the real goal in this spending fight is to impose a conservative agenda via the budget process, just like in Wisconsin.
"In the recent battle in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker went to war on his public sector unions…unions agreed to reduce their benefits," Schumer said. "[Walker] went further and insisted on ending collective bargaining entirely…it's not really about budget cuts."
The House will vote Tuesday afternoon on a stopgap spending measure to keep the government funded for another three weeks. It contains spending cuts agreed to by the GOP leadership, but many rank and file conservatives are jumping ship despite those cuts.
"It doesn't contain the extraneous riders they want," Schumer said. "[A]bortion, global warming, and net neutrality as well…. that's what's driving the defections on the Republican side."
Schumer said Democrats don't want any of these controversial policy riders in longer-term spending legislation, which would fund the government through September.