In spite of the fact that tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Wisconsin over the past two weeks and many are still occupying the State Capitol day and night, the state’s general assembly passed Governor Scott Walker’s “budget repair” bill in a before-dawn vote today. Inside the Capitol, The Nation’s John Nichols joined Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman to talk about the vote and what it means for the protests. After “more than sixty hours of debate,” Nichols says, the Republicans went ahead and voted for the bill along party lines. The Democrats shouted “Shame!” but this was expected; the vote occurred in the dark of night because Republicans didn’t want to face tens of thousands of angry protesters after they passed the legislation. The bill now moves to the state Senate.
According to Nichols, voters feel blindsided by Walker’s recent moves: taking away collective bargaining rights and restructuring city and state government so he can have more decision-making power was not part of the governor’s election campaign. Polls indicate that a majority of Wisconsinites support the workers’ struggle to save collective bargaining.
For more on Wisconsin’s protests as they unfold, read Nichols’s latest on-the-ground updates.