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The Do Nothing Republican Legislature Cost Wisconsin Taxpayers $25 Million


(MADISON)—Today, Senator Tim Carpenter issued the following statement regarding the recent news that a delay in legislative action has led to a loss in revenue shared with Wisconsin by the federal Government:

The Republican controlled Legislature’s political game playing has cost Wisconsin taxpayers $25 million in federal funds for our state’s Unemployment Compensation Fund, which will go broke this October.

Instead of acting responsibly to pass legislation required by the federal CARES Act, Senator Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos sat on their hands, waiting until the very last day possible to pass the necessary COVID-19 relief legislation. This was so that they could sneak last minute “technical fixes” such as eliminating medical liability into the relief package, leaving Democrats without enough time to fully scrutinize their actions. Republicans chose to play partisan politics instead of working across the aisle and now Wisconsinites who are unemployed through no fault of their own will pay the price.

These same Republicans under the Walker administration created the one week waiting period and work requirements that have been so frustrating to people during this emergency. Now they are taking credit for temporarily eliminating the waiting period because they are up for election—but they acted too late. Despite the fact that the legislation that had been proposed by the Governor on March 21st included the necessary repeal of the one-week waiting period, the Republicans who control the legislature waited until April 15th to take action. Now the federal government will not reimburse Wisconsin for the weeks during which the Legislature failed to act.

Everyone knew in mid-March that the waiting period would need to be repealed to respond to the emergency. There is no excuse for why they waited to take action on this. For three weeks I had implored the leaders of the Senate to convene in session to address issues including the one week waiting period. And the Democratic members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation warned Majority Leader Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos on April 3rd that delay could lead to a loss in funding.

The Do Nothing Republican Legislature continues to collect their paychecks even as Wisconsinites are still suffering from the Coronavirus Pandemic. Republican leaders prefer to hold press conferences attacking Governor Evers’ Badger Bounce Back plan instead of doing their jobs.

Wisconsinites don’t deserve to pay the price for the Republican Legislators’ blowing hot air and pontificating about combating the Coronavirus. The GOP doesn’t have any Coronavirus legislation ready to debate and pass, so their leadership turned to the Republican controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to let activist Judges write public policy for them.

It’s time for Republican leaders to call the Legislature back into session to do its job, and reassure Wisconsinites that we will not leave them high and dry come October, not just hire high-priced lawyers at taxpayers’ expense to do their homework for them.