Gov. Walker says his reforms are “progressive” 

Gov. Scott Walker, testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, defended his efforts to curb union power in Wisconsin.

“In Wisconsin, we are pursuing a progressive option,” Walker said in testimony at a hearing on state budgets at the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He described his plan to ask government workers to pay more for health benefits as a “modest request” – asking them to contribute 5.8 percent for pension and 12.6 percent for health insurance premiums. Noting that his brother, who works as a banquet manager and part-time bartender, pays about $800 a month in health care premiums, he said, “he would love a deal like the one I offered government workers.”

As for the measure to curb union collective bargaining power, he noted that a woman named Megan Sampson was named Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin in 2010, but was laid off a week ater because the collective bargaining contract required staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

In his opening remarks, Walker also credited Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for signing similar reforms in 2005.

There are a number of protesters in the hearing room, but Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., put them on notice that they would be ejected if they caused a disturbance. Thus far, they have behaved themselves.

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