(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor says he wants lawmakers to vote on his coronavirus relief package by the end of the year, but no one is expecting that to happen.
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday unveiled a $100 million package that he is calling a “compromise.”
“It is time to move forward on provisions where there is agreement,” Evers wrote in a letter to the top Republicans in the state legislature. “As I have repeatedly indicated, the goal was to have a bill passed by mid-December, but was willing to give you additional time to speak to your caucuses to find a united, bipartisan approach. However, we now face the end of the year, and a bill has not yet been passed.”
Evers’ latest plan contains mostly technical changes, but would guarantee government covers the cost of the coronavirus vaccine through the state’s SeniorCare and BadgerCare programs, as well as shift state workers to cover the unemployment backlog that has thousands of people in Wisconsin still waiting to get their jobless benefits.
“To be clear, this list is not perfect,” Evers said in his letter. “I would certainly hope for more support to our state’s continued response to the pandemic, and it is unfortunate there seemed to be no appetite from your caucuses on other items such as ensuring those impacted by COVID-19 aren’t evicted from their homes, requiring insurers to cover all telehealth services, easing work search requirements for those who have lost their jobs and can’t find new work, and making it easier for healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 to claim workers compensation.”
Evers then put the legislature on the clock.
“Wisconsinites are demanding and deserve the legislature to reconvene and pass legislation that addresses the continuing needs of our response to COVID-19. I agree, and I hope at the very least this first compromise bill will be sent to my desk quickly and without delay, even if it means meeting during the next two weeks,” the governor wrote.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on Monday said the governor is once again demanding that lawmakers take his proposal or leave it.
“I would hope he’d reconsider his decision to walk away from the table,” Vos said.
Vos has said he is willing to work with the governor on a coronavirus package he says would help businesses and workers in the state. Evers was silent on the Republican ideas.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.