Fourteen Republican legislators have voted to start searching for a law firm to file a lawsuit challenging Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s decision to use his item veto authority to remove tax cuts and regulatory reforms from an economic stimulus package. The vote came today during a Legislative Council meeting. Democrats like Senator Mike Connolly of Dubuque accused Republican of picking a partisan fight. Republicans argued it should not be a partisan fight and that Democrats should join the fray against Vilsack. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says the legislature needs to “defend its turf.” Gipp says it’s about determining what powers the legislative branch and the executive branch of government have under the constitution. Governor Vilsack says he’s not focusing on the lawsuit. Vilsack says legislators are “lookin’ to make work for lawyers” while Vilsack says he is “lookin’ to make work for college graduates.” Vilsack says legislators “want to spend time in a courtroom.” Vilsack says he wants to “spend time in a boardroom, selling the state of Iowa,” During today’s Legislative Council meeting, Senator Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, tried but failed to get Republicans to put a cap on the amount of money that could be spent on the lawsuit. Connolly says cost is a big issue in every other area. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says limiting the amount of legal fees is ridiculous. Rants accuses Democrats of trying to set the suit up for failure by not allowing enough billable hours to be racked up to win the case. Taxpayers foot the bill, for both sides in this case.
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