The debate was contentious and the Democrats ended up accusing the GOP of "cutting off debate" - after 61 hours of discussion (the longest in memory). But the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the Wisconsin Assembly passed Governor Walker's budget repair bill in the wee hours of the morning:
Democrats erupted after the vote, throwing papers and what appeared to be a drink in the air. They denounced the move to cut off debate, questioning for the second time in the night whether the proper procedure had been followed.
"Shame! Shame! Shame!" Democrats shouted in the faces of Republicans as the GOP lawmakers quietly filed off the floor and a police officer stood between opposing lawmakers.
"Cowards all! You're all cowards," yelled Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) as another Democrat tried to calm him down.
Most Republicans had no comment on the vote afterward and some were escorted out under police protection. Earlier in the night, Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) said that Democrats had been given more than two full days and nights to make their case - effectively turning the debate into a filibuster - and that Republicans had done nothing wrong.
"It seems clear our side wants to vote and I challenge anyone watching to say we have not held out for an adequate debate," Suder said.
"The democrats were clearly stalling," said Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc). "That's why Assembly rules allow for a vote on final passage. We took that vote and did what the people of this state asked us to do on Nov. 2 - get spending under control."
Nice. Comforting to know that in our republic, lawmakers have to be escorted by police to prevent the opposition from causing bodily harm.
Of course, nothing can be finalized until a way is found to get AWOL senators back to the chamber. Even in liberal Wisconsin, the people are split on who is right and who is wrong on this issue. That's something of a victory for the GOP at this point.
If it continues much longer, the Democrats will find even less popular support for their childish antics.