CPAC leads the Digest today. The big question heading into the weekend was whether GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann would upstage Tim Pawlenty in the CPAC straw poll. Even though the two rely on different political universes, a stronger showing by Bachmann could have put some serious molasses in Pawlenty's perceived 2012 mojo. In the end, both got tepid support. But Bachmann got a "winner" nod in The Fix's Winners and Losers post. Pawlenty wasn't mentioned. Update: Politico called Pawlenty a winner and didn't mention Bachmann.
In the end, both tied at 4%. Ron Paul got the most votes followed by Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Bachmann and Pawlenty tied at fifth.
Key question: Is the CPAC straw poll a good test of a candidate's viability or is it more fast food (empty calories that are forgotten just minutes after you consume them?)
On Friday, Pawlenty went after Obama in his speech.
He appeared on This Week and criticized Obama for "ducking a question on the Muslim Brotherhood."
Bachmann did some crowd sourcing at the event.
Under the Dome
Gov. Dayton releases his budget plan this week. AP says his proposed cuts will be the floor not the ceiling.
MPR talks to several experts who say jobs are going to be lost whether there are cuts or tax hikes.
AP also says the promise of low taxes hasn't delivered in many states.
Dayton and DFL Sen. Al Franken promise flood support for Fargo and the Red River Valley.
The Iron Range delegation wants Dayton to appoint a coordinator for the PolyMet proposal.
The Star Tribune is the latest outlet to look at the growing divide between Republicans in the Legislature and public employee unions.
President Obama releases his budget plan today. It's a $3.7 trillion dollar plan that includes cuts to many discretionary programs. It cuts $1.1 trillion to the deficit.
Obama's budget plan includes cuts but they won't be as deep as cuts proposed by House Republicans.
The Wall St. Journal says Obama and Republicans in the House are arguing over discretionary spending while they should be looking at the bigger cost driver: entitlement spending.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar backs a cap on spending.
The Star Tribune says the budget cuts could hit Minnesota hard.
The New York Times says the housing crash is hitting cities that were considered stable. Cities like Minneapolis.
The Egyptian military declares martial law.
Japan's economy slips to third in the world.
Several lawmakers, including DFL Rep. Tim Walz, criticized JP Morgan Chase for charging soldiers more interest on their mortgages than allowed under federal law, causing many families to lose their homes.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack will headline the Beltrami GOP Convention next Saturday.
Tuesday is the Special Election to see who replaces DFL Rep. Tony Sertich. Several well known Democrats campaigned for Carly Melin over the weekend.
The Minnesota Senate set the committee deadlines for the 2011 Legislative session. The Minnesota House is expected to approve the measure as well. Here are the deadlines:
March 25th: Deadline for finance committees and the divisions of the House and Senate to report omnibus appropriation bills to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, other than a bill appropriating money for the acquisition and betterment of public lands and buildings and other public improvements of a capital nature, or an omnibus tax bill.
April 29th: The first deadline for committees to act favorably on bills in the house of origin
May 6th: The second deadline for committees to act favorably on billw, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the other house.
By Brett Neely
(Washington) - DFL Sen. Al Franken was tapped by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy today to lead the committee's new Privacy, Technology and the Law subcommittee. Franken has been a member of the Judiciary Committee since he took office in 2009. The new subcommittee will have oversight authority over laws and polices related to online privacy, according to a press release issued by Franken's office.
Franken's new subcommittee will be spending a lot of time looking at how companies such as Facebook and Google collect and use information about individuals.
"The boom of new technologies over the last several years has made it easier to keep in touch with family, organize a community and start a business," Franken said in a statement. "It has also put an unprecedented amount of personal information into the hands of large companies that are unknown and unaccountable to the American public."
Today's subcommittee assignment immerses Franken deeper into online issues.
Franken has taken a stand for so-called net neutrality rules, which would require Internet Service Providers to treat all kinds of data traveling across their networks equally. He also opposed the Federal Communications Commission's approval of the merger between cable operator Comcast and NBC Universal, in part because he's concerned the cable operator will try to drive companies like Netflix out of business.
The ranking Republican on the subcommittee will be Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and other members of the subcommittee include Chuck Schumer, D-New York, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, Orrin Hatch, R-Utah and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.
Not sooner was that announcement made than Sen. Amy Klobuchar was named chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. The subcommittee is responsible for oversight over the federal court system, judicial rules and procedures, the Department of Justice grant programs, and helping eliminate government waste, fraud, and abuse.
"As a former prosecutor, I understand the importance of effective oversight and the need to ensure equal justice for all Americans," Klobuchar said in a statement. "I am honored to chair the subcommittee and look forward to working with my Republican colleague Jeff Sessions to make sure we are keeping our communities safe and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in the government."
In addition to chairing the Judiciary subcommittee, Klobuchar's office says she will continue to serve as chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Competiveness, and Export Promotion, which oversees innovation issues and has oversight over the Commerce Department, export promotion, and tourism issues.
The WMUR Granite State poll shows former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in third place behind Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Romney is polling at 40%. Giuliani is polling at 10%. Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee are both polling at 7% each.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann wasn't included in the poll.
In a head to head match-up, President Obama is ahead of Pawlenty 44-37. More info here.
Posted at 5:38 PM on February 14, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Vikings stadium
State Rep. Alice Hausman, of St. Paul, has been circulating a one-page letter to her fellow Ramsey County lawmakers, a day ahead of an expected county board vote on opening talks with the Minnesota Vikings.
The letter calls on the seven commissioners to rethink their plans to open negotiations with the NFL team on a possible new stadium in Arden Hills, site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
"The county has been assuring us they would never agree to taxes, but, as we learned from the Twins' experience, we won't be asked," Hausman said. "It will be simply imposed on us by legislators from other parts of the state who can then say they saved the Vikings, and it won't cost their taxpayers a dime."
Hausman also says its the wrong time for counties to be building stadiums, as the expected cuts from the state's projected $6.2 billion dollar budget deficit get passed along to local governments. She says Ramsey County may simply be a tool to leverage a better deal out of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
Hausman says she has 11 of the 23 members of the Ramsey County delegation signed on already, and thinks she can get more. She does appear to have a majority of the county's House delegation as co-signers.
Other signatories include Reps. Erin Murphy, Sheldon Johnson, Mindy Greiling, Bev Scalze, Rena Moran, Carlos Mariani, Nora Slawik and Michael Paymar. Senators John Marty and Ellen Anderson.
The letter hasn't been officially handed over to Ramsey County yet, but it may not make much difference. County officials expect the board to approve moving ahead with the Vikings by a wide margin at their meeting on Tuesday. The vote could go as high as 6-1.
It doesn't include any numbers, but county officials have been telling lawmakers that a half-cent sales tax in the county could pay the debt service on $300 million in bonds -- potentially the county's share of some 9-figure stadium deal.
The county board will be taking up the matter tomorrow morning. Their meeting starts at 9 AM.
Here's the letter:
An official who has seen GOv. Dayton's budget says the governor will not make any cuts to Local Government Aid when he releases his budget tomorrow.
The person, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid conflicting with Dayton's official announcement, says the governor will fully fund aid to cities and counties in his budget plan. That amounts to $3.5 billion. Dayton has been arguing that recent increases in property taxes are directly correlated to the cuts in state funding to local governments made during Tim Pawlenty's eight years as governor.
Dayton is also expected to fully fund the Renter's Credit and other "local aids and credits."
Dayton's decision to fully fund LGA creates a clear distinction between his plan and efforts put forward by the GOP controlled Legislature. Dayton vetoed a bill last week that would have cut $300 million in LGA over the next two years. By fully backing LGA, Dayton wants to show that he's representing low and middle class Minnesotans while Republicans are trying to protect wealthier Minnesotans. Republicans argue that property taxes hikes are decided by officials made at the local level.
Dayton has said he wants to raise income taxes on Minnesota's top earners, a plan that Republicans oppose. Business groups, including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, also oppose the measure.
Dayton has not said how much he wants to increase income taxes on Minnesota's top earners.
He releases his full budget at 10:30 tomorrow morning.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack wants to cut all federal funding for the United States Institute of Peace. The organization is aimed at reducing violent conflicts across the world. Cravaack, a former U.S. Navy pilot, says he admires the goals of the group but says the cuts are needed.
"After four years of massive deficit spending and with a ballooning national debt, we must look for ways to rein in Washington's out of control spending and begin the process of getting our fiscal house back in order," said Cravaack in a statement. "The U.S. Institute of Peace's goals are important and honorable. However, a number of other departments, agencies and non-profit organizations - many of which do not depend on the federal government for funding - can help achieve that goal. Given our current fiscal constraints, I cannot justify spending over $42 million on the Institute of Peace."
Cravaack hopes to introduce the funding cut as an amendment to the continuing appropriations bill. It's expected to be voted on later this week.
Posted at 11:02 PM on February 14, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Governor Mark Dayton releases his budget plan today. The plan, according to someone who has seen the budget document, will not make any cuts to Local Government Aid or other aids and credits to local units of government. Dayton, who will also increase income taxes on Minnesota's top earners, is setting up a clear distinction between his plan and the plan put forward by the GOP controlled Legislature that Dayton vetoed last week.
Dayton sets the tone for his budget announcement in an op-ed.
The Ramsey County Board will vote on a proposal that would open up talks with the Minnesota Vikings for a new stadium. Several members of Ramsey County's legislative delegation are lining up against the proposal.
The Pi Press says the Vikings Stadium could be a tough sell for some Arden Hills residents.
Veterans will introduce their 2011 agenda today.
Republican Tom Emmer will lobby for a group that he opposed as a state legislator.
The Pi Press takes a look at the proposed nanotech center at the U of M.
The DNR plans land purchases through 2035.
The Star Tribune takes a look at efforts to water down the statewide smoking ban.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce hires senior staff.
MnDOT is projecting major shortfalls for road funding.
President Obama released his budget plan.
Advocates fear Great Lakes restoration is in peril.
President Obama's budget includes $200 million for Central Corridor.
It would also cut heating aid for 44,000 Minnesota homes.
Obama increases funding for schools. GOP Rep. John Kline says the nation has increased funding for schools but has failed to improve student achievement.
Republicans push for cross-border health insurance purchases.
The head of the Minneapolis FBI says there have been no signs of Somali men leaving Minnesota for Somalia.
DFL Sen. Al Franken will head a subcommittee on online privacy.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.
For profit colleges are pushing to delay funding limits imposed under President Obama. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison wants Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any cases involving the health care overhaul.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack wants to cut funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Violent protests erupt in Yemen, Bahrain and Iran.
Voters go the polls in House District 5B to elect a replacement for DFL Rep. Tony Sertich.
2012 Prez Watch
Tim Pawlenty is third in a New Hampshire poll.
Surprise! The GOP candidates don't like President Obama's budget.
Pawlenty will attend a Faith and Freedom event in Iowa.
The conservative Frum Forum asks why Pawlenty is running a cynical campaign.