Posted at 8:52 AM on December 20, 2007
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Holy Hand Grenades! A state lawmaker wants to move the Walleye fishing opener up a week and lower the slot limit.
Gov. Pawlenty presents awards to people who help troops when they return from combat.
A new study says health care is taking a large percentage of Minnesotans' income. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum says health care is costing too much for families.
Education Commissioner says funding for Red Lake Schools is her top priority in next session's bonding bill.
Speaking of Education Commissioners, Cheri Pierson Yecke is leaving her post in Florida.
The Pawlenty Administration takes the SEED show to Worthington.
The Star Tribune says GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad may be leaving open the possibility of another run. But he tells the AP he's finished. Roll Call says Ramstad will ponder his future over the Holidays (subscription required). That clears everything up. Oh wait. It's clear as mud.
CQ says the rumors aren't helping Erik Paulsen.
AP says there are 9,000 earmarks in the spending bill headed to President Bush. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
The Worthington Daily Globe writes about the Farm Bill.
House Democrats propose ethics changes. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is mentioned.
The Hill says GOP Sen. Coleman thought about seeking a seat on the Finance Committee but says he would have a chairmanship if everything falls into place (like winning his reelection bid).
There's also talk that he could chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The Rochester Post Bulletin says the spending bills have a regional impact. DFL Rep. Tim Walz and GOP Rep. John Kline are mentioned.
The Hill says the GOP is turning its focus on health care.
President Bush signs the pool safety bill. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will appear at a Minneapolis Hospital today with the parents of the girl who inspired the legislation.
DFL Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz will be on Midday today. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was invited but declined to participate.
The Washington Post ruins DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar's gift idea for her husband.
AP says a Muskie Moment isn't necessarily a bad thing anymore.
Posted at 12:07 PM on December 20, 2007
by Tom Scheck
DFL Reps. Tim Walz and Keith Ellison appeared on Midday this morning. You can listen to the show here. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was also invited but she declined to participate. Bachmann did provide a comment to another outlet regarding the energy bill. AP picks up the story:
Bachmann says she doesn't like new energy law
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed the energy bill this week, but Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota says there's a lot she doesn't like about the new law.
The 6th District representative says the bill doesn't contain any new energy. She says while the bill focuses on increased use of biofuels to replace petroleum, she would have liked to encourage more exploration for oil in gas in the U.S.
With the price of crude oil nearly doubling since the start of 2007, Bachmann says the U.S. needs to look for more oil within it's own borders.
Bachmann also thinks new mileage restrictions are too tough on the struggling U.S. auto industry. The law calls for a 40 percent increase in the average amount of miles-per-gallon delivered by cars and trucks produced in the U.S. -- to 35 mpg by 2025.
Information from: J.P. Cola/KWLM-AM, http://www.kwlm.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Posted at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2007
by Mike Mulcahy
Sen. Terri Bonoff's 3rd District Congressional campaign issued this statement from the candidate today:
"Regardless of what Jim Ramstad decides about his political future, I remain certain about mine: my campaign to bring a new voice to the Congress for Minnesota's families will continue. I look forward to a vigorous campaign to determine who will best represent Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District without regard to whom my opponent is."
Posted at 3:15 PM on December 20, 2007
by Tom Scheck
You'll get the Top 10 quotes soon. Here are the honorable mentions to tide you over...
"Under Republican control, property taxes went up on the middle class. Under Republican control, fees went up on all of the middle class. Under Republican control, college tuition went up... And you know what the voters did? They elected all of us, the 85 of us- to come down to this House and direct the policy for the state." DFL Rep. Nora Slawik of Maplewood
"You're here because of an Iraq war and a positively unpopular president. At a certain stage in time, the pendulum swung your way. And the thing I love is, you think you're here for all the liberal reasons you stand for, and that's just not true." GOP Rep. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder
"They are the slow trickle of death for the Minnesota economy. It puts us in jeopardy, hurts our businesses, hurts our economy, it hurts our state, it hurts our families and nobody seems to understand that somebody has to pay the bill," GOP Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen on a DFL plan to increase the gas tax and license tab fees.
"If his only strategy is to be telling us `No, no, no,' that's not a form of negotiations," DFL Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarry Clark on negotiating with Gov. Pawlenty.
"If you look at the bills being introduced again by my friends on the other side of the aisle it looks like a legislative "taxapalooza." I mean they've got income tax increases, sales tax increase, tax increases. Everyday there's a new bill introduced for tax increases," Gov. Pawlenty on the DFL plans for tax increases.
"I don't think anyone thought he would veto the bill over this particular issue and I don't see how he's going to justify it with the public out there. It's deceitful. Everybody knows it's deceitful. Like I said, weapons of math destruction. He's creating his own math here." DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina on Pawlenty's decision to veto a tax bill because it required budget forecasters to include inflation into future forecasts.
"We don't want to have a situation where we're blanketing taxes on top of job providers. You can't say that you are pro-job and then be anti-job provider or anti-business. It's like saying you're pro-ag and then being anti-chicken." GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert...
"You can't do major reforms without money. And if we're going to do something major to roll back property tax increases, it costs money," DFL Sen. Tom Bakk on his proposal to increase income taxes on top earners and use the money for education funding and property tax relief.
End of Session Scurry
"Tonight we had the session down to the 1-yard line and the minority caucus got called on a delay of game..." DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich
"They had Denny Green time management..." GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert said. "They did 75 percent of the budget in less than six hours and that is simply outrageous."
Problems at the Minnesota Health Department
"I wanted to release the data on the new cases of mesotheliomia along with our plan for seeking for federal funding to conduct a study so that we could assure the Iron Range community that we were doing everything possible to respond to the lingering questions about mesothelioma on the range." Former Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach on why she didn't inform the public right away about the cancer deaths related to mesothelioma.
"We have to actually make sure that people who died have a good news release? What's going on here? This is absolutely shocking what's going on here, Commissioner. I would hope that if you're really truly are responsible for your decision in running the department in this way, I would hope you would resign after this hearing." DFL Sen. David Tomassoni to Mandernach during a hearing on MDH's findings...
"Maybe they're here for you," Democrat Keith Ellison's response after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him he knew how to attract a crowd. Ellison received plenty of attention for being the first Muslim elected to Congress and for taking the oath of office on Thomas Jefferson's Koran.
"The President and I enjoy a great relationship. When he was, when he and I were back visiting the collapsed bridge, he reached over because he wanted to give me a kiss when we were down at the site and I had pulled back and he said 'What'? you know, 'You don't want to embrace?' and I said, 'You know, the people of Minnesota love you, Mr. President, but I think one kiss was enough." GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann on WCCO Radio after President Bush visited the I-35W bridge site.
"This legislation is going to be groundbreaking. This is going to be the first concrete effort to end the war and it's the most realistic way for us as Democrats to do it. I'm working to get the votes," DFL Rep. Betty McCollum on the push to pass a bill that has a timeline to end the Iraq war.
"This notion that we may cut off funds when we have our sons and daughters engaged in combat is just atrocious. It's so abhorrent to me that it's hard for me even to sort of rationally go through what the impact of that would be," GOP Rep. John Kline on any plans to set a timetable on the war or cut funding to the troops.
"I refuse to put more American lives on the line in Baghdad without being assured that the Iraqis themselves are willing to do what they need to do to end the violence of Iraqi against Iraqi. If Iraq is to fulfill it's role as a sovereign and democratic state, it must start acting like one," GOP Sen. Norm Coleman on his opposition to President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq. Coleman said he opposed the surge in Baghdad but supported sending more troops to Anbar Province.
"Time will prove me right. I'm up for an election in '08. If I'm wrong, folks will have a chance to articulate that," Coleman on his decision to oppose a withdrawal plan being debated in Congress.
"I knew things were getting out of hand when [Sen.] Claire McCaskill and I were driving out of the Senate one day and we looked out the window and we see my husband. And he's carrying this pink box. And she said, 'Isn't that your husband?' I said, 'Yeah, I don't know what he's doing here.' We called him over and it's a baby present. I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'Well I'm here for a Senate Spouse event. It's Jim Webb's wife's baby shower. At that moment I thought - this was a great victory for women," DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar on her husband's transition to Washington.
"If it was good enough for Dwight Eisenhower, it ought to be good enough for George Bush," DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar on his plan to temporarily increase the federal gas tax.
"After 17 years of getting on the plane every Monday and not coming back until Friday, I'm burned out. I still have the passion for policymaking, I still have the passion for politics but I want to be home," GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad as he announced his retirement from Congress.
"I have no plans to run for re-election. Nothing's changed," Ramstad in December after reports suggested he would reconsider his retirement decision.
"I guess the tragic part about this was this was expected. We saw that the cuts and the inability for this administration to plan for these costs that were going to come with this war were never addressed. So what we're concerned is that this is going to be just the very beginning of what's going to be a tragic domino effect down through our VA system," DFL Rep. Tim Walz on the troubles with the VA system.
"Fundamentally you had the almost 5,000 members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team 34th Division, the Red Bulls, who were called to active duty --went on the very extended deployment of 22 months including 16 months in Iraq. And then they came back and found out that some of them were eligible for full Montgomery GI Bill benefits and some of them weren't," Kline on his efforts to ensure benefits to all of the Minnesota National Guard members who served in Iraq.
"Some people want to make everything about the rich and the poor. They do it on taxes, whatever … it's kind of a phony argument, but a lot of people have bought into it, and it's what I have to deal with. That's politics. Some of my constituents will lose their benefits." DFL Rep. Collin Peterson on efforts to cut back subsidies to some farmers.
"It's like a hard fought football game and then all of a sudden at the last minute you're forced into overtime." Adjutant General Larry Shellito, head of the Minnesota National Guard, on President Bush's decision to extend the deployment of Minnesota National Guard members serving in Iraq.
"He called that action ridiculous and I think that needs to be highlighted. Al Franken is running for the U.S. Senate and he wants to sit in my place. He's got to make a choice. Does he stand with MoveOn.org or does he stand with a bipartisan majority in the United States Senate?" GOP Sen. Norm Coleman on his decision to take out an ad calling on Democrat Al Franken to speak out against the group MoveOn.org.
"Coleman won't vote to get the troops out. Coleman doesn't know what he wants to do. He's a windsock and he sees that people want the troops out but he can't get himself to vote that way so this is done to change the subject," DFL Senate candidate Al Franken on Coleman
"People who have taxed and spend in my judgment are a lot better than those who spend and don't tax and pass debt on to the next generations of Americans." - DFL U.S. Senate candidate Mike Ciresi.
"I'm going to try to work on him (Pawlenty) for you. I'm the next one down on the state level so I'm happy to put my machinery behind you. McCain isn't doing real well. Romney has been courting him (Pawlenty) so I'm trying to keep him at bay." GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert to Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson at the Minnesota State Fair.
"They notified us from an engineering standpoint the deck might need to be rehabilitated or replaced in 2020 or beyond, but no immediate or structural problems with the bridge," Pawlenty said at a news conference in Minneapolis.
"The fact that you're going from a $400 million reserve to $200 [million], and potentially go negative. Boy, you can't run a modern, complex state agency that way, and I just think that has to be addressed," said DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller on MnDOT's finances.
"There are two games people in Minnesota could play this year. One is fantasy football and the other is the DFL fantasy disaster blame game. Every disaster that happens is some Republican's fault," GOP Sen. Ray Vandeveer on the bridge collapse.
"If this were a basketball game, it's a layup. And in the context of a crisis in the state, with all of the trauma and drama that we've been through, we shouldn't even be fussing about this," Gov. Pawlenty saying there's no legal or logical reason for lawmakers to block MnDOTs' request for greater spending authority to build the bridge.
"I don't think our constituents would appreciate the fact that eight people are spending $200 million. That's a decision that the whole Legislature should make," DFL Sen. Murphy on MnDOT's request.
"I don't think I was moving at all when it happened. And seeing things suspended in the air that aren't supposed to be -- cars. I swear I saw a construction worker suspended in the air. And just kind of that feeling, that free-fall feeling. I felt like we did that twice. At the time, I just stomped on the brake and held my steering wheel and then heard a loud smash and saw my back window break," Melissa Hughes of Minneapolis who was on the bridge when it collapsed.
"Bring everything you've got! The whole bridge over the river fell down! There's cars all over the place...There's hundreds of cars, they're in the river. Bring everything you got!" A caller to a 911 operator.
"It's already in the hundreds of thousand dollars at this point. It may exceed $1 million, I'm not really sure. I'm still receiving services. I do have insurance. It doesn't cover everything, surprisingly. I thought it would," Mercedes Gordon of Minneapolis who discussed her injuries from the bridge collapse.