Fitzgerald: Senate Won’t “Fumble the Ball” on Foxconn
While it’s predictable that democrats would continue to find any issues they can within the Foxconn deal, Senate and Assembly Republicans now seem to be at odds with one another on the pace at which the bill is moving. In an interview conducted by Media Trackers Communications Director Jerry Bader, Senate Republican leader Scott Fitzgerald discussed the recent headlines concerning his comment regarding finding enough voters for the bill, and the lack of communication between the Senate and Assembly.
Though the Journal Sentinel headlined a story claiming Fitzgerald doesn’t have votes on the bill yet, when asked to name the senators who wouldn’t vote for the bill, Fitzgerald offered a slightly different view:
“It’s not a question of who is not comfortable yet with the bill, I think it’s that we haven’t done a nose count. We got the bill two weeks ago, today is the first time that the members of my caucus will be able to discus the bill directly with secretary of the DOA Scott Neitzel and with Mark Hogan and his staff from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. So I think its just more that we have a lot of questions about the piece of legislation, which we should, to do the due diligence on it, and we need to get people comfortable with many of the different provisions, and answer those questions.
While Fitzgerald stressed he needs to discuss the bill more in depth with the other senators, the continual delay raises questions on the senate’s push for the bill’s acceptance. Fitzgerald spoke of the rising differences between the two houses:
The Assembly chose a different path, where the speaker said listen, we’re just going to amend this thing, and get it into a form that we are comfortable with. They’re up to twelve amendments and it looks like they’re going to have a full substitute, which either means the bill wasn’t ready for prime time when it was introduced two weeks ago if they are amending it that significantly, or it means they have a lot of good ideas that are going to make this bill better, which is fine.
He continued: “I had this conversation a couple of times yesterday, where it’s just vote for it and you can read the bill later, no that’s Nancy Pelosi stuff. We’re not going to do that in the state Senate, we never have and we never will.
The Senate and Assembly seem to be drifting apart in their approach to the bill, and lack of communication between the two houses seems like one of the major causes. When asked if he had gone to the Governor or Assembly to discuss the bill he said:
No, you can’t have every legislator in the Assembly and the Senate negotiating deals, it doesn’t work, it never has worked, it won’t work.
He continued: Even as majority leader I was not invited to any of the meetings when they were developing the MOU (memorandum of understanding) or the specifics of the contract that ultimately will be signed between WEDC and Foxconn, and that’s fine, that’s appropriate.
Bader told Fitzgerald that his actions and the actions of the senate are starting to seem more akin to a delay in the progress of the Foxconn deal. Ultimately Fitzgerald spoke of his support of the bill, and assured that this isn’t a cause for concern:
Nobody wants to fumble the deal, nobody wants to put any road blocks in, that’s not what we’re doing.
He continued: Everyone wants Foxconn to be located in Wisconsin, I do more than anybody else, I think this is just doing our job and I think people are uncomfortable with the idea that you have got to get members in the right place to be able to support this, on whether it’s this or any other major bill that we have passed over the years, it takes a little while to get people there but I think that’s happening.
While the actions of Fitzgerald and the Senate may seem to some as a cause for concern of a delay, the Sept. 30th deadline for the deliverance of the incentive package remains in place.
You can hear Bader’s interview with Fitzgerald here: