Murphy keeping “fingers crossed” but Bailey still a no

"The bottom line is we came out here on Friday and thought we had 51 votes for the bill, " House Speaker Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque) said Monday morning.  "…My goal was – leave the machine open and see if people change their minds."

Two Radio Iowa stories just filed this morning about the on-going saga over the prevailing wage bill.  Rep. McKinley Bailey met with folks in Webster City on Saturday and spoke about his "no" vote on the prevailing wage.  And earlier this morning House Speaker Pat Murphy sat beside me at the House press bench and talked about the weekend, his decision to keep the voting machine open,his hopes that a 51st vote is found for the prevailing wage bill.

Murphy looks remarkably well-rested and un-wrinkled after a nearly 60 hour marathon in the Iowa House.  He explained:  "I asked Rick Olson, the floor manager, I said, 'If I decide to sit in the chair all weekend, will you come and spell me for a few hours?"…and he said, 'Sure,' and I ended up with half my caucus volunteering to do shifts, so I've been here most of the weekend, but two of the three nights I've been able to sleep in my legislative bed — not my home bed; my home bed's the best — but where I stay here in Des Moines, I've been able to sleep the last two nights there but I spent Friday night/Saturday morning in the chair.  I just think I've got a great caucus.  I didn't expect them to ease the burden for me. It wasn't something that was planned.  I just thought about it and thought, 'This is the time to do this,' because I think when you're talking about raising people's wages, especially in tough economic hard times, I don't see what the problem with that is."  

Murphy said he has not talked with any of the five Democrats who voted against the bill and he scoffed at those who've accused him of "high pressure" tactics.  "A lot of people think this is high-pressure tactics.  Leaving the machine sit open while I sit here?  I wish I was that strong.  I'd be able to get a lot more things done just sitting around then."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.