Boehner wades into Wisconsin labor battle, backing GOP governor

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stepped into the heated labor debate in Wisconsin on Thursday, backing GOP Gov. Scott Walker's proposed reforms to collective bargaining rights.

Boehner released a statement on Thursday afternoon backing Walker and his package of aggressive labor reforms that would force increased contributions by state workers to benefits and pension plans, and limit collective bargaining rights for some.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Republicans in Congress — and reform-minded GOP governors like Scott Walker, John Kasich and Chris Christie — are daring to speak the truth about the dire fiscal challenges Americans face at all levels of government, and daring to commit themselves to solutions that will liberate our economy and help put our citizens on a path to prosperity," Boehner said in a statement. "I’m disappointed that instead of providing similar leadership from the White House, the president has chosen to attack leaders such as Gov. Walker, who are listening to the people and confronting problems that have been neglected for years at the expense of jobs and economic growth."

The GOP Speaker referred specifically to an interview President Obama gave on Wednesday to Milwaukee television, in which he called the new law an "assault on unions." What's more, the Wisconsin chapter of the president's political arm within the Democratic National Committee (DNC), worked to promote rallies against the new law.

Boehner called on Obama to have the DNC stand down in Wisconsin.


"The White House has even unleashed the Democratic National Committee to spread disinformation and confusion in Wisconsin regarding the governor’s courageous actions," he said. "I urge the president to order the DNC to suspend these tactics."

The proposed law has drawn major protests in Wisconsin's state capitol, during which more than 1,000 public school teachers have reportedly called in sick. Organized labor groups have pushed aggressively against the law, treating it as a kind of point of resistance against labor reforms sought by new GOP governors. The debate's grown so intense that the state Senate's Democrats left the state to prevent a quorum in the chamber in order to prevent a vote on the legislation.

As Boehner alluded to in his statement, other Republican governors like Chris Christie in New Jersey and John Kasich in Ohio, among others, have sought labor reforms to address state pension liabilities and other budget outlays.