Coronavirus relief standoff: Evers urges Assembly compromise after Speaker doubles down on original bill

MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is still hopeful members of the Republican-controlled Assembly will pass the amended COVID-19 relief bill that made it through the state Senate this week.

If the Assembly moves forward with its original legislation, the governor said he would have to veto it, which would throw legislative relief into question until they could come to an agreement.

“I can’t line item this issue so I’m anticipating that either we’re going to find a way for (Assembly Speaker Robin Vos) to agree with the Senate … (or) it would be vetoing it,” Evers said. “So hopefully they can jump on the bandwagon.”

Evers said he thought the Assembly, Senate and he had come to a compromise before Vos, R-Rochester, indicated in his State of the State response that Republicans in the chamber wouldn’t compromise their conservative values in the legislation.

Before the State of the State address, the Senate approved an amendment that meshed with some of what the governor asked for and the legislature wanted, but without Assembly approval it won’t become law.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said in a statement he was disappointed in the move from the Senate, saying the bill fails to address issues he hears from constituents across the state.

“The message from our neighbors and communities has been loud and clear: we must open our state while keeping our vulnerable safe,” he said.

Steineke said the body would move toward a response during the next floor period “later this month.”

Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg and majority leader in the Senate, told News 3 Now he thought the Assembly bill was a good one.

“In the Senate we probably would have gone further if we had a different governor,” he said Monday, “but we have to understand who the governor of Wisconsin is.”