House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) likened state budgets to a hostage with a machine gun held at its head by public worker unions.
"In some of these states you’ve got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there’s almost no bargaining," Boehner told "The Brody File" of the Christian Broadcasting Network. "We’ve given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied."
The Wisconsin debate has been full of strident rhetoric, especially with high tension on both sides of the debate in Wisconsin, and no resolution in sight.
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) had to apologize last week when he told union supporters that it's sometimes necessary to "get out on the streets and get a little bloody," in reference to the debates in Wisconsin.
A senior GOP aide said that there wasn't much coverage of Capuano's remark last week, and pointed to a double-standard in the media's coverage of rhetoric.
"Sen. [Dick] Durbin [D-Ill.] used the phrase 'job-killing' last week, which many in the media have questioned when Republicans have used it," said the aide. "I didn’t see a tweet of protest."
The violent imagery comes during a moment of heightened sensitivities since the January assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which sparked a debate about the tone and civility of political debate in Washington.