Posted at 6:45 AM on March 29, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Lawmakers also hope to vote on a jobs bill.
They hope to get it done by 3pm today before they go on the Easter/Passover break.
The federal stimulus money props up the state's sex offender program.
On Friday, Gov. Pawlenty signed the GAMC bill on Friday.
Obama also made 15 recess appointments.
Obama will sign the health reconciliation bill on Tuesday.
A,T&T links $1 billion in new charges to the new health care law. Specifically, the company (and others) won't get as large a tax rebate for providing drug benefits to retirees.
Politico says history shows that the passions may fade over the health care debate.
The New York Times says some lawmakers received an earful over their health care votes.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will propose legislation to fix online privacy problems.
Klobuchar also spoke in North Dakota.
The Star Tribune also writes that Klobuchar has a centrist voting record.
DFL Sen. Al Franken talked renewable energy in Mankato.
Franken and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann were also on WCCO's Sunday Morning to talk health care.
Bachmann also called for protests of the nation's health care law during an appearance on Face the Nation. CBS says she offered big numbers but little proof. Specifically, she didn't offer any facts to back up her federal government now controls 51 percent of the economy and a prominent medical journal denies publishing a survey she cited.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz will receive a national award from the national and state AMVETS.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says he's going to make the new health care law work.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar was in Colorado speaking about distracted driving.
Race for Governor
Democrat R.T. Rybak has a news conference scheduled for today at the State Capitol. His campaign manager offered few specifics on Friday except to say it was "delegate related."
Democrats Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Paul Thissen spoke at an event in Marshall.
Republican Marty Seifert released a health care position paper.
The race for endorsement comes down to the undecideds.
Race for Congress
The DFL candidates in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District criticize GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen on using $413,000 in taxpayer money on mailings and other communication. AP first reported the story on Paulsen's spending.
Republicans in the 7th and 8th will hold a forum tonight in Beltrami County.
Race for the Legislature
Republicans endorsed Paul Gazelka over GOP Sen. Paul Koering. Koering said he was skipping the convention and running in the primary.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
A National Review commentator writes about Pawlenty's prospects.
Mitt Romney will be in Iowa tomorrow.
Sarah Palin told thousands of Tea Partiers in Nevada that they should dump the Democrats.
A poll shows that a majority view Palin unfavorably.
There has been a lot of political chatter about a Wall Street Journal report citing Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins saying the excise tax would lead to the loss of 1,000 jobs. Republicans, like GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, say the tax will mean jobs losses in the industry and are pointing to Hawkins comment to back it up.
MPR's Annie Baxter reports this morning that Medtronic's spokesperson clarified that statement:
A Medtronic spokesman said in an email that the statement was taken out of context; Medtronic does not have plans to eliminate jobs as a result of the health care reform law.
The spokesman said Hawkins meant the industry as a whole would lose jobs, and that Medtronic is worried about the impact of the excise tax on device makers large and small.
But Baxter reports that the Medical Device Tax, which is a part of the recently signed health care law, will impact the industry, especially smaller companies.
Check out the entire story here.
Update: Here's the full statement from Medtronic on the impact of the new law:
Like the passage of Medicare in 1965, the health care reform bill signed Tuesday by President Obama will shape the future of U.S. health care and our industry for decades to come. Medtronic supports patient access to affordable, quality health coverage and new law takes our country in this direction. We helped to form several elements of this legislation, but there is no doubt it will have an impact on our business.
The excise tax on medical devices now included in the law was reduced from $60 billion to $20 billion over 10 years. It provides for a 2013 start date to coincide with coverage expansion; it will be a conventional excise tax with full deductibility; and it will cover all product classes with the exception of retail products like contact lenses and possibly many diabetes supplies, including continuous glucose monitors, which we manufacture. The impact of the tax, we estimate, will be roughly $150 to $200 million on Medtronic annually beginning in 2013. We have no immediate plans to eliminate jobs at Medtronic as a result of the device tax or health care reform. We accept our shared fiscal responsibility for coverage expansion, and are very appreciative of our constituent members of Congress from Minnesota and Indiana, in particular, for having significantly tempered the size, distribution and timing of the tax.
In addition to the tax, the bill also includes some positive changes like uniform federal standards for disclosure transfers of value to physicians for product development and training, something Medtronic has long supported. Relationships between physicians and companies like ours help fuel innovation and advance patient care. Also, the new law calls for the creation of a national body to study and compare the clinical effectiveness of widely used medical therapies. This research is designed to help patients and health care practitioners better understand which therapies work best for which patients.
We will stay engaged as the new law is implemented to ensure our ability to remain innovative and shape our business and our therapies to compete in this new environment.
The Minnesota House passed a conference committee report this morning that cuts $312 million in state spending. It passed on 76-55. The debate was interesting since several Democrats, including gov candidate Tom Rukavina, criticized the cuts as too harsh while Republican gov candidate Tom Emmer said the cuts don't go far enough.
Here's how the candidates for governor voted on the bill in the House:
Democrats voting yes:
Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Democrats voting no:
Tom Rukavina, Paul Thissen
Republicans voting no:
Marty Seifert, Tom Emmer
DFL Sen. John Marty, who is running for governor, voted for the bill. It passed the Senate 44-23..
Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says he'll sign the bill:
"Our office reached an agreement with legislators over the weekend regarding the first budget bill. While the Governor would prefer the DFL present a complete solution, we can't force them to do it, so we're doing our best to work with what they're offering.
"As always, we will do a final review of the bill language, but as long as there are no unforeseen problems the Governor plans to sign the bill.
"Moving forward, the DFL should keep in mind that we're not going to raise taxes, so phases two and three are going to require significant additional cuts in order to balance the budget."
Gov. Pawlenty decided against taking an open shot at Mitt Romney during last week's appearance on Good Morning America. Instead, Pawlenty decided to rip the possible 2012 foe during an appearance in New Hampshire. Pawlenty didn't openly take a shot at Romney but it was clear who he was targeting when he criticized the Massachusetts health plan to the Nashua Telegraph.. Romney signed the universal health plan into law when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Here's part of Pawlenty's interview regarding the Massachusetts law:
"The plan is dramatically propped up by federal money," he said. "Take that away and there would be dire economic consequences.
"Looking at the Massachusetts experience, it would not be one I would want for the country to follow any further.''
Pawlenty has criticized the Massachusetts model before but this is the first time he's done it since President Obama signed the health care overhaul into law last week. The topic could be a dicey one for Romney since he signed the Massachusetts model into law but is calling for the repeal of a federal law that is similar.
One side note, Pawlenty is critical of the plan being propped up by federal money but fails to mention that he relied heavily on federal stimulus money to balance the current budget. In 2009, he used $2.1 billion to help balance the state's budget.
He's also relying on a $408,000,000 extension in stimulus money to erase the current budget deficit. Congress has yet to pass that extension.
Update: Pawlenty will hold a "Facebook Townhall" on Wednesday night.
I'm told Pawlenty will appear via webcam and answer unedited questions from Facebook users via instant messaging technology.
Democrat R.T. Rybak's campaign for governor announced today that seven DFL state lawmakers are backing Rybak for governor. DFL state Senators Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, John Doll, Mary Olson, Yvonne Prettner Solon and Kathy Sheran and DFL state Rep. Tina Liebling have signed up to support Rybak. All of the members live outside of the Minneapolis and St. Paul.
"We are supporting R.T. because we believe he is the right leader at the right time," Liebling said in the news release. "Maybe it's time to have a governor who's not so closely tied to the Capitol. It's time for a governor who's shown us he has the executive experience to really get results. It's time for a governor with R.T.'s ability to rally all Minnesota around a shared vision for our state."
Liebling's comments in Rybak's news release don't specifically name DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who is also running for governor, but there's no doubt where she's aiming. Rybak and Kelliher were the top two vote getters in the straw poll and most campaign staffers say Rybak and Kelliher have the most support. That being said, most delegates are still undecided.
DFL state Sen. John Marty and DFL state Reps. Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen are the other DFL lawmakers running for governor who say they'll abide by the DFL endorsement.