Republicans say Evers halted negotiations with ‘compromise’ Covid bill

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers is still pushing for state lawmakers to pass more relief by the end of the year.

He released two bills, one he thinks they can pass quickly because he said it includes many provisions that he and legislative leaders agree on.

“We have significant common interest and if we’re going to let the perfect stand in the way of the good or any type of similar analyses, we may end up with nothing,” Evers said.

The so-called “compromise” bill deals a lot with the inner workings of government, such as transferring funds and people as needed to help agencies respond. Many provisions were included in the legislation lawmakers approved in April.

New pieces take aim at the unemployment backlog, directing the Department of Workforce Development to come up with a plan within 30 days to resolve the stack of claims and expand call center hours to 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

In response Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said it was only a compromise on the part of Republicans.

“It contains none of the major proposals offered by Republicans to reopen public schools for in-person education, reopen state government facilities to state workers, or ending the abuses by public health bureaucrats in controlling every aspect of our daily lives,” he said in a news release.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, suggested Evers had stopped negotiating by releasing the bill.

“It’s the Governor’s job to work with us and negotiate a Covid package, not just give us his summary of where he thinks we are,” he said in a statement.

Vos did not say what parts of the bill he did not agree with.

Evers told News 3 Now there’s still room for agreement.

“Will we continue to talk? Yes, we can,” he said. “But I truly believe that many of the (parts of legislation) that are yet resolved are resolvable. So let’s have something for the people of Wisconsin to say, ‘indeed the executive branch and the legislative branch can actually accomplish something.’”

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, echoed similar thoughts as Vos, adding the state also needs to assess the impact of federal relief.

“I will continue to work with Senate Republicans and Speaker Vos to pass Covid-19 relief legislation,” he said. “If the Governor changes his mind and wishes to join these conversations, my door remains open.”