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Mr. Walker Goes to Washington

Scott Walker was called in to testify in the House Oversight Committee on his deficit reduction strategy, i.e. busting unions. The House Oversight Committee is an appropriate venue: 14 of the Republican members have received campaign contributions from the Koch Industries PAC, which is intimately involved with funding Walker as well. The Koch’s favorite son heads to the Koch Caucus.

Not everyone was friendly.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), on Capitol Hill for a hearing held by the House Oversight Committee on state budgets, had yet to even speak before Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ripped into the Republican leader’s anti-union record.

“I strongly oppose efforts to falsely blame middle-class American workers for these current economic problems,” Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in his opening statement. “This recession was not caused by them. Working America – fire fighters, teachers and nurses – are not responsible for the reckless actions of Wall Street, which led to this crisis in the first place.”

Cummings said he also “strongly object[s] to efforts by politicians who try to use the current economic downturn to strip American workers of their rights – the right to negotiate working conditions that are safe, the right to negotiate due process protections against being fired arbitrarily, and the right to negotiate fair pay for an honest day’s work.”

Cummings invited Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, to provide an alternative viewpoint on how to create budgets that are fair to workers and the middle class. He stated that “I do not believe that those to blame for our current financial troubles are our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other state employees whose services we take for granted. The notion that a state trooper making a middle class living with health care benefits for her family, or a snow plow driver who works long hours in dangerous conditions and makes a decent but modest wage, is responsible for this problem is simply false.”

Liberal groups massed outside the hearing room to give Walker just as warm a welcome.

If you like, you can read Walker’s testimony, where he calls his agenda “truly progressive.” Wage cuts and union-busting is the new progressivism.

The #kochapalooza hashtag is pretty amusing reading, fact-checking Walker and his testimony.

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David Dayen

David Dayen