In the latest salvo surrounding Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) controversial budget plan, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on Wednesday endorsed recall efforts against several GOP state senators.
Democrats are targeting eight Republican senators who are eligible to be recalled this year in an effort to take control of the state senate and prevent Walker from passing his agenda. The GOP currently holds a 19-14 majority in the state's upper chamber. Three of the eight would need to be recalled and replaced with a Democrat in a recall election in order to flip control of the state senate.
If we can recall at least three Senators and regain control of the senate, we can end the ugly games Republicans in the legislature have played in the last few days — unplugging phone lines, bolting windows inside the Capitol shut, and withholding the paychecks of Democratic legislators," wrote party chairman Mike Tate.
The heated debate in Wisconsin over the state budget and union collective bargaining rights has become a symbol for budget and spending issues on the national level.
President Obama and Republican leaders have weighed in on opposite sides of the fight, making it a proxy war over how to handle the nation's ballooning debt and budget deficits while putting the economy on a path to stable recovery.
In Wisconsin, where Walker has proposed steep spending cuts and limiting state employee's ability to collectively bargain, the debate has reached a fever pitch. Union demonstrators have protested in the state capital for weeks and state senate Democrats have fled the state in order to block action on Walker's plans.
The AFL-CIO circulated the announcement to Washington reporters. The SEIU is also helping gather signatures; their appeal says that 15,000 are needed in each district to force a recall.
Because of state law, only 16 out of the 33 members of the state senate are eligible for recall. Walker, the rest of the state senate and the entire state assembly have not served one year in office and thus cannot be recalled, according to David Buerger of the state's Government Accountability Board.
A recall petition must be certified 60 days after it is registered under state law.
Republicans have also upped the ante: GOP members who remain in the senate passed a resolution Wednesday that would fine Democrats who fled the state $100 for each day they miss. The GOP has already blocked them from receiving their paychecks.