Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., weighed in Thursday morning on the continuing political chaos in Wisconsin, saying Gov. Scott Walker's moves against the state's public employee unions are nothing more than an attempt to "union bust."
"I think the governor is clear that he's trying to union bust," Franken said after a press conference at the state Capitol. "He's gotten the concessions on salaries and pensions that he wants. If he wants to end this thing, he can -- right away."
As for the prank phone call in which Walker believed he was talking to billionaire David Koch, Franken said it reveals that Walker's agenda is "greater than balancing the budget ... His agenda is nationwide, to bust labor and bust unions." He also called Walker's description during the call comparing his stand to the fall of the Berlin Wall "a little self-aggrandizing."
Franken added that "I don't believe in punking anybody," referring to the slang term for what happened to Walker. But early in his Senate career, several left-leaning political blogs described Franken as doing exactly that when he denied Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., speaking time on the Senate floor -- something the Senate's Democratic leadership specifically instructed him to do.
Concerning the possibility of a federal government shutdown, Franken said he's "no an oddsmaker," but said members of Congress are in "kind of uncharted territory."
He described budget cuts passed by the House as "pretty draconian" and criticized House Speaker John Boehnerrecent statements as a "take it or leave it" stance that "wasn't helpful."