Wisconsin’s Governor Walker is a smart guy:
There’s been a lot of talk about whether, with the budget bill tied up, Republican senators could pull out the collective bargaining provisions and pass them as a standalone measure. The Senate’s rules require a quorum of 20 senators to pass any bill that involves spending but just 17 senators for nonfiscal bills. Therefore, some believe that Republicans, with 19 votes, could pass the collective bargaining measure on their own.
It won’t work. Walker put out a statement Monday strongly arguing that the collective bargaining provision is in the budget bill because it has a big fiscal impact and therefore would have to be passed by the higher vote standard.
I admit I thought the collective-bargaining-only maneuver sounded a good idea, but Walker is right; using it would undermine the justification for the measure. It might work to get the bill passed, but it would give Democrats a good political argument where they currently have none at all.
UPDATE (3/9): There was a loophole after all, but it wasn’t that one.