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For compromise in Wis., 3 GOP senators needed

February 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The budget stalemate in Wisconsin is heating up. Union leaders are protesting at the state Capitol again on Monday over a plan by the governor to effectively eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public employees. But the governor is not backing down from his controversial proposal.

Senate Democrats who fled the state last week to delay the plan vowed not to come back to allow it to pass - even if they have to miss votes on other bills Tuesday.

Union leaders said they would not let up on protests that have consumed Wisconsin's capital city for a week and made the state the center of a national debate over the role of public employees' unions.

Protesters say they're willing to take the cuts the governor needs to balance the budget, but they claim the governor is taking advantage of a dismal economy to do some union busting.

With neither side backing down, it means that it might take Republicans in the Legislature to try to break the impasse.

One idea that has been floated by GOP Sen. Dale Schultz would temporarily take away bargaining rights to get through the state's next two-year budget, then immediately restore them.

Walker rejected that idea during an interview Monday on MSNBC.

"It will never get to me because other than that one state senator, all the rest of the Republicans are firmly behind our proposal," Walker said in the interview, calling it an unacceptable short term fix.

Walker was meeting Monday morning with Republican lawmakers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.