Vos Attacks Senate Trio as Renegade Hijackers Who Achieved Little

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos attacked a trio of state senators as “renegades” and hostage takers because of their opposition to items included in the budget that was ultimately passed by the state senate. While the budget bill is in its final stages of passage, in an interview with Joy Cardin of the Wisconsin Public Radio, Vos attacked senators Duey Stroebel, Chris Kapenga, and Steve Nass, for going “renegade” and “holding Governor Walker hostage,” in relation to their decision to withhold their votes until their requests were met.

Vos’s criticisms stem from the trio’s decision to take matters into their own hands and withhold their votes on the passage of the Budget Bill, unless Walker agreed to veto certain parts of it.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the agreed upon vetoes would:

  • Tighten limits on when school referendums can be conducted so that they can be held only on regular spring and fall election days. The budget would have also allowed them to be held in November of odd-numbered years, but the veto will take that option away.

  • Repeal the ability of school districts to exceed their revenue limits for energy projects. The budget would have put a one-year moratorium on that practice but the veto will end it for good.

  • Allow the Department of Transportation to reallocate which projects get federal money, allowing it to avoid federal rules — and supporters say save money —  on some projects.

  • Speed up the repeal of the prevailing wage law that is paid to those working on public infrastructure projects so that it takes effect immediately instead of in September 2018.

  • Modify an overhaul of the state Transportation Projects Commission.

  • Strike out a provision that would have expanded the powers of an obscure body called the Public Finance Authority that has quietly been helping local governments all over the country issue billions of dollars of bonds in recent years.


The three senators received promises from Governor Scott Walker of vetoes of provisions that trouble them. Despite that, in interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, Vos dismissed their efforts as ineffective:

For whatever reason these renegade senators at the end of the process decided they were going to hijack what we normally do, and instead of negotiating where they convinced their colleagues and work within the process, they kind of decided that they were going to give a ransom list to Governor Walker.


Vos continued: They have every right to do that, I can’t complain necessarily about their actions, only about the process that I think they hijacked.

Vos blamed the actions of the senators on his claim that they are “unpersuasive” and in Senator Stroebel’s case, his naivete as to how things work in the in the senate. He told WPR:

 I think the problem is that these guys are very unpersuasive, they don’t actually have the ability to convince the other people inside their team of why they believe in something so instead they focused on holding Governor Walker hostage.


He continued: I think Senator Stroebel and some of those other folks don’t understand what compromise really is, and that’s why at the end, they kind of said my way or the highway and unfortunately in that circumstance they got what they wanted, and a very few minor things.

While Vos repeatedly called the three senators “renegades” and accused them of “hijacking” the process and holding Governor Walker “hostage,” he then tried to shift focus back to the positives of the bill, which was nothing more than veiled piling on criticism of the three senators.

There’s so much to be proud of, that’s what I really want to focus on not these guys who hijacked the process that 99 percent of your people who are listening right now frankly don’t care about.


He continued: I think at the end of the day, the vast majority if not almost all of our priorities are going to be in there so we chose to take a more positive tone, I didn’t say I was going to hold out and not do something like not vote for the budget if you don’t do exactly what I wanted like these other guys did.

Media Trackers reached out to Senator Stroebel’s office for a comment about Vos’ criticism, to which his Communications Director, Ethan Hollenberger,  replied, “Senator Stroebel is not commenting on the inside baseball. He is looking forward to the budget being signed with the vetoes announced on Friday.”