OTR Interviews

Wis. Gov. Walker: People See the Budget Repair Bill Was the 'Right Thing to Do'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: He won, and today he won twice. First, Governor Scott Walker signs a controversial labor bill that he fought for. And then he had a second win. The Wisconsin governor dodges a temporary restraining order, since right after the governor signed the bill a Democratic Dane County executive Kathleen Falk filed an emergency lawsuit against the secretary of state, the Senate majority leader, and speaker of the assembly to stop publication of the law.

She lost at least this round, but this dispute does not appear to be over. Governor Scott Walker joins us. Good evening, sir.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Good evening, good to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, explain to me this publication. You've instructed the secretary of state to publish this law on Monday. Is he going to do it?

WALKER: It remains to be seen. It is a common procedure. By law he's up to 10 working days to publish this law that I signed into law today and that he actually signed. It just still has to be published. He has not made it clear whether he will do it money or wait the full 10 days.

The bottom line it was signed into law and it now has become the law of the state of Wisconsin.

VAN SUSTEREN: It there any suggestion that he won't publish it within 10 days or he will never publish it, that he will pocket veto it or sit on it? Any possibility that could happen, because he's a Democrat, you're a Republican.

WALKER: He cannot. The most he can do is publication for the full 10 working days. But it's largely a ceremonial condition. What effectively made it law was me signing it this morning at about 9:30 central time.

And again, this is the formality of going through with publishing this. It is not something he has a choice in doing. It is required by law. The question is does he do it Monday or wait the full 10 days?

VAN SUSTEREN: Wednesday there will be a hearing whether the procedure was constitutional or not and a judge will decide that.

WALKER: It is very clear to me that it is. The bottom line is the Senate chief clerk, which has worked for Democrats and Republicans, someone well-respected by both parties, very clearly told the Senate that what they did was legal and proper.

And for people complaining about the procedure this measure has been there for a month, and for three weeks Democrats have been out of the state. The only reason they didn't have a chance to vote on it and the people they represent was left out in the cold was because they chose not to do their job.

VAN SUSTEREN: In light of the signing of the bill, the 1,500 people who were targeted for possible layoffs, are they now -- they are not going to the get the pink slips now based on this event.

WALKER: Right. They are absolutely safe this morning. As I was preparing to sign the bill we put out notice to the unions those 1,500 jobs are no longer at risk for layoffs. What we did with this budget reform was protect middle class jobs and middle class taxpayers. That's what this is about.

At the same time we are going to make our government work better in the state of Wisconsin. When Mitch Daniels did this six years ago in Indiana the state become more effective, more efficient and it was better for not only the taxpayers in terms of cost it was better in terms of the people who wanted good services and for the workers who are doing a great job because they are the people who benefit the most from this.

VAN SUSTEREN: I realize you are in charge of Wisconsin. But is this a bigger political issue that you think will become part of the dialogue in 2012 in public unions?

WALKER: I don't know about the next election. I do think it will be part of the dialogue across the country in the next year or two. Nearly every state in this country faces a major deficit, and obviously the federal government bigger than any us are facing not only in dollars but in terms of percentage.

My hope is that leaders will see across the country [that] you can do what you say you were going to do, stand up and make tough decisions and make a commitment so our children don't face even more dire consequences. That's what this is about. We led the nation in the 90s under Tommy Thompson -- we came to welfare reform. We can lead the nation when it comes to fiscal and budgetary reform as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: The Democrats are pretty mad at you, aren't they?

WALKER: Absolutely. Greta, as you know for eight years before this I was a local official, county executive in Milwaukee County, a county that has never elected a Republican before, and yet I was elected three times because we identified our problems, solutions and did what so many failed to do, we delivered on those promises.

What I think now more than ever what people want who are leaders who stand up tell the truth, provide leadership and get the job done. That's what not only I've done, but those courageous leaders in the state assembly and Senate did, including one independent who said enough is enough. It is time to start balancing our budget while we can protect middle class jobs and property taxpayers, and that's what we are doing.

The Democrats, the liberal ones don't want that. But every day we go forward from this point on they will see this was the right thing to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. I think it is not totally over. Thank you, governor.

WALKER: Good to be with you.