Posted at 7:00 AM on June 3, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Senate Ethics Panel reprimanded DFL Sen. Satveer Chaudhary over the fish flap.
Northern Minnesota appears to have lost a bid for a wind turbine manufacturing plant to Montana.
Gov. Pawlenty said the state will not have cash flow problems this year.
Minnesota health spending hit $35 billion in 2008.
A flag that Minnesota soldiers took with them to Afghanistan was given to Pawlenty.
Democrat Margaret Anderson Kelliher picked up some more union support. The UAW will back her today. The Laborers backed her yesterday in St. Cloud. She touted the veto override of a transportation bill at that event.
Kelliher and DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich will hold a "retire the debt fundraiser" for Tom Rukavina's gubernatorial bid.
GOP Rep. Mark Buesgens is the new campaign manager for Republican Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign.
IP candidate Tom Horner's budget accounting is off.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will visit the Mayo Clinic today to discuss Medicare rate disparities.
The U.S. ordered BP to build berms to protect the coast.
Efforts to contain the spill on Wednesday were stopped with a stuck saw.
Democratic consultant James Carville is President Obama's number one Democratic critic over the BP oil mess.
A top aide to President Obama tried to discourage a Democrat from running for Senate in Colorado by offering him another job.
DFL Sen. Al Franken expects his piece of the financial reform bill to pass.
GOP Rep. John Kline is pushing to change the No Child Left Behind laws.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said the Israeli blockade of Gaza is helping Hamas.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty gave money to a Republican candidate for governor in New Mexico.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed a GOP challenger for Alaska Senate.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has a fundraiser scheduled on Friday for Marco Rubio, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in Florida. Pawlenty, former MNGOP Chair Bill Cooper and former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz will host a luncheon for Rubio at the Minneapolis Club on Friday.
"Marco Rubio represents the future of the Republican Party and has the common sense, conservative ideas we need more of in Washington," said Alex Conant, spokesman for Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC. "Governor Pawlenty wants to do whatever he can to help Rubio's campaign, and is glad to host him in Minnesota."
Rubio is a popular candidate in GOP circles. His candidacy forced Republican Governor Charlie Crist to switch to an Independent in the Florida Senate race.
Pawlenty didn't back a candidate for Florida Senate until Crist decided to run as an independent.
He's the latest White House hopeful to back Rubio. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are all backing Rubio.
(h/t Blois Olson).
Carl Levin, a Democratic Senator from Michigan, is in Minnesota today to campaign for Mark Dayton's campaign for governor.
Dayton's campaign says Levin and Dayton will meet privately with officials from the Minnesota National Guard and the Minneapolis VA Hospital. Levin is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Levin will also hold a fundraiser for Dayton later tonight.
The three DFL candidates for governor and Independence Party's endorsed candidate will participate in a forum on Friday. The Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is hosting a forum that features Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D), former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton (D), former legislator Matt Entenza (D) and I-P candidate Tom Horner.
The forum will be held at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics will also hold a forum on Friday night that features Kelliher, Entenza and Horner. That forum will focus on health care issues.
Posted at 3:32 PM on June 3, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) says additional federal Medicaid money that states have been waiting for is now in jeopardy.
The organization sent out a news release today saying the $24 billion extension of FMAP money was "on the ropes" in Congress. Minnesota was anticipating $408 million, and some early state budget proposals counted on that federal money to balance the books. The session's final budget agreement did not. If the funds do arrive, the money would go to the state's bottom line.
Here's the NCSL release:
WASHINGTON -- The additional six months of enhanced federal matching funds for state Medicaid (FMAP) and child welfare (Title IV-E) programs that appeared to be a certainty at one point is now "on the ropes." Yet the need for the extended Medicaid match assistance remains the same. More and more people continue to become Medicaid-eligible as a result of the recession. The $24 billion extension of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions would cover the period between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011 was included in H.R. 4213 only to be dropped by congressional leaders in the House last week. An extension of COBRA premium subsidies also was dropped along with changes in the Medicare physician reimbursement "fix". There will be no further action until the week of June 7, 2010 when the Senate reconvenes after the Memorial Day recess. The House action resulted from pressures to reduce H.R. 4213's considerable size of just more than $100 billion, with little more than half offset by revenue adjustments. The focus of efforts must now be with the Senate. NCSL sent letters to Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell urging them to include the FMAP extension when when the Senate takes up this legislation. Also, NCSL recommends that state legislators contact their delegations and urge them to re-insert the enhanced Medicaid/Title IV-E match extension into H.R. 4213.
University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato is calling Minnesota's race for governor a toss up. Here's his analysis (note, I'm sure some Republicans will quibble with his assessment that the GOP would have gladly nominated Norm Coleman):
Minnesota-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) has White House fever and isn't seeking a third term. The floodgates opened, and every state politician with a decent resume gave or is giving this race a serious look. Republicans would gladly have nominated former Sen. Norm Coleman, but he declined to step up to the plate after an exhausting recount battle with now-U.S. Sen. Al Franken. Instead, the GOP faithful decided to nominate a very conservative but charismatic state legislator, Tom Emmer, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin. Minnesota has long ceased to be the predictable liberal state of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, so Emmer's pedigree isn't an automatic disqualifier and early polls show Emmer essentially tied with the Democratic frontrunners. Still, Democrats have a reasonable chance to take over the reins after the Pawlenty era if they can successfully make their way through a vigorous nominating process. Another former U.S. senator, Mark Dayton, is running on the Democratic side, and state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is probably a co-frontrunner with Dayton, who had an unhappy D.C. tenure but is wealthy. This being the land of Jesse Ventura, there will also be a representative of the Independence party on the ballot, Tom Horner, and his percentage points could tip the balance one way or another. For now, we call it a TOSS UP.
The entire State House picture can be found here.
Posted at 4:35 PM on June 3, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: U.S. House
Minnesota Republican Congressman John Kline has returned from a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan. He was part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation.
Here's the release Kline's office issued today:
BURNSVILLE - Minnesota Congressman John Kline returned this week from a five-day bipartisan Congressional Delegation (Codel) trip to Afghanistan where he worked with House colleagues - both Democrats and Republicans - to observe and assess the progress being made in Afghanistan. On the fact-finding mission, Kline met with military and civilian officials as well as U.S. troops currently serving in the area. During their visit, members of the Codel focused on issues pertaining to the training and equipping of U.S. forces, the surge, reconstruction efforts, training of the Afghanistan National Army and Afghanistan National Police, and combating corruption. Accompanying Kline on the fact-finding trip were Congressmen Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Frank Kratovil (D-Md.), and Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). This was Congressman Kline's fifth Codel to Afghanistan and seventh visit to the region.
Kline, a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He also is the Top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee.
Carl Levin, a the powerful chair of the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate, campaigned today for Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign for governor. Levin and Dayton met privately with officials from the Minnesota National Guard and the Minneapolis VA Hospital. Levin also held an evening fundraiser for Dayton at the Minneapolis Club.
Levin said he got to know Dayton during Dayton's term in the U.S. Senate. He said he thinks his "sturdy independence" will make him a good governor.
"I watched him fight for Minnesota, Levin said. "I watched him fight for working people, for health care for people including for children. He's a gutsy guy. I saw him take on some of the powers that be. He's independent. He votes his conscious and I think any state is well served by having those types of public officials."
Roughly fifty people attended the fundraiser. During a brief speech, Dayton thanked the guests for financially backing his campaign especially since he spent $11 million of his own money to win the U.S. Senate seat in 2000.
"I was able to do all of my fundraising in the morning when I was shaving in the mirror," Dayton quipped.
During an interview, Dayton and Levin also stressed the Dayton helped secure federal funding for a national Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign. The program was pioneered by the Minnesota National Guard.
Dayton also emphasized his campaign is focused on Get Out the Vote efforts for the August tenth primary against Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former legislator Matt Entenza. Kelliher has been touting her recent union endorsements but Dayton is also receiving significant backing from labor. He said he expects AFSCME, the Teamsters, the Steel Workers and the Police and Peace Officers union to convince their members to vote for him in August.
Dayton said he expects to go up on the air with TV ads in the next few weeks.
The Minnesota Republican Party sent out a news release raising Dayton's decision to close his office, Time Magazine rating him one of America's worst Senators and his decision to give himself a self grade of an F.