Capitol Chaos: Walker Calls for Democrats to Come Home

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MADISON - Republicans in the State Senate can't vote on the Governor's budget without at least one Democrat.  But they can cut off debate, and they did.  That means that once Democrats do come back, they will only be able to vote up or down on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald warned the Democrats Friday morning that if they didn't show up for debate Friday that they would forfeit their right to introduce amendments or debate the bill.

"The Democrats have a decision to make this morning," Fitzgerald said.

"If they don't show up this morning, we're going to move beyond the second reading, beyond the third reading of the bill, and we will be in a position where the bill that the assemblymen passed last night will be in its final form and be ready for passage."

However, Milwaukee Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach told TODAY'S TMJ4's Lauren Leamanczyk from Illinois that he and his counterparts have no plan to return to Madison on Friday.  He told her the Republican move was expected.

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More: 
Click here to read the original budget bill

Click here to see who voted for and against the bill, and who didn't vote

"If (those Senators) want to be heard on the Governor's budget repair bill, that has to happen this morning at 11:00 a.m.," said Fitzgerald.

The Democrats didn't take the bait.  They're still nowhere to be found in Wisconsin.  Republicans moved on the bill without them.

Republican Sen. Dale Schultz says he couldn't proceed with his own compromise without the Democrats.

Other Republicans defended Walker's plan as a difficult choice to make but one that's necessary to help the state deal with a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Republicans own a majority of the State Senate and would be expected to pass the bill for signature by the Governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.