Posted at 6:42 AM on April 6, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The House is scheduled to take up a State Government budget bill and a Health and Human Services budget bill today.
The Senate finished all of its budget bills.
Gov. Dayton will attend a MnDOT news conference this morning that outlines the 2011 construction projects this morning.
House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch will headline a Humphrey School event today.
Gov. Dayton reached a deal with four HMOs to cap their profits at 1 percent for 2011. Any additional profits will go back to the state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Senate passed the Tax bill on a party-line vote.
The House passed the Jobs and Economic Development bill last night.
For many students, school lunches will likely cost more this year.
The Pi Press says the Vikings are starting to cast their eyes on Minneapolis for a new stadium. The team hasn't provided any info to Ramsey County yet.
A private group provides its own Vikings stadium plan.
President Obama says a budget deal is close and argues a federal budget shutdown would be disruptive.
Minnesotans may not feel the effects of a government shutdown right away.
But a shutdown would close national parks and slow some contracting.
House Republicans released their budget plan, which includes changes to Medicaid and Medicare.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said Ryan's plan is a "roadmap to ruin."
Dana Milbank says the plan wouldn't balance the budget. He says it would increase the federal debt by $8 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Minneapolis Federal Reserve President wants changes to mortgage markets.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic Congresswoman from Florida, is the new chair of the DNC.
GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain says DFL Rep. Keith Ellison supports sharia law because he took the oath of office with the Koran.
A Wisconsin Supreme Court race is too close to call.
Race for Congress
Emily's List is targeting GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Race for President
The first 2012 GOP debate is one month away.
Tim Pawlenty met with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Pawlenty's committee will lease office space in Minneapolis.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will speak today at an anti-spending rally in Washington D.C. today.
She appeared on Fox last night and said her age is part of her experience. She's 55 today.
Ron Paul won't leave the GOP to run with Jesse Ventura.
Get the Digest e-mailed to your inbox.
Congress has until the end of the week to broker a deal to fund the government through September. If they don't, some lawmakers warn that governmental activities will come to a halt.
But U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann says that a government shutdown is "actually a slowdown."
"About one-fourth of the federal workforce would be furloughed. Three-fourths of the federal workforce would stay in place, Social Security checks would continue to go out, the military would continue to be paid, and all essential services" would remain active, said Bachmann she said during a March 31, 2010 interview with reporters.
Bachmann's claim is correct.
Republicans and Democrats are at an impasse over how much to cut spending. If Congress fails to approve funding this week, the government is legally required to shutdown.
But that doesn't mean Washington will go dark.
President Barack Obama and members of Congress would stay. And a White House official confirmed that military personnel would be retained and continue to earn money, but they wouldn't be paid until funding is approved. Jobs that protect life or property, such as law enforcement officials, would also be exempted.
The White House also confirmed that roughly 800,000 workers would be furloughed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government employs roughly 2.8 million civilians, so that means roughly 28 percent would be temporarily out of work. Bachmann's estimate is in range.
Social Security checks will continue to go out, so on that point, Bachmann is also correct.
But approval of Small Business Administration loans would be put on hold, national parks and museums would be closed, and at the height of tax season, the Internal Revenue Service will stop processing paper returns.
Bachmann is correct that a shutdown is more like a slowdown.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, speaking with reporters on March 31, 2011
Congressional Research Service, Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects, Clinton T. Brass, Feb. 18, 2011
The U.S. Constitution, Article 1; Section 9, accessed April 4, 2011
The Office of Management and Budget, Sec. 124 - Agency Operations in the Absence of Appropriations, accessed April 4, 2011
The House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Government Shutdown I: What's Essential, Dec. 6 and 14, 1995
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, number of federal employees 1995-1996, accessed April 4, 2011
The Social Security Administration, History of the SSA 1993-2000, accessed April 4, 2011
Reuters, Factbox: What happens in a U.S. government shutdown?, Feb. 28, 2011
The Christian Science Monitor, If a government shutdown occurs, what actually happens?, by Gail Russell Chaddock, Feb. 23, 2011
The Humphrey School(8 Comments)
Posted at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2011
by Mark Zdechlik
Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
A 15-year-old girl reportedly found a staffer for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Iowa campaign operation trying to enter the back door of her family's Ankeny, Iowa home early Wednesday morning.
The girl's family told KCCI-TV in Des Moines that the staffer, Benjamin Foster, was drunk and trying to get to a friend's house in Johnston, Iowa. They said he vomited in their backyard and scared their daughter. The TV station reported that police charged Foster with public intoxication and trespassing.
Pawlenty's presidential exploratory campaign committee released a statement Wednesday afternoon, quoting Foster.
"Last night, I made a very serious mistake," he said. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I want to apologize to all affected by my poor judgment. I especially apologize to the people who were disturbed during the incident and the arresting officers. I give my word that it will never happen again."
The statement also quoted a spokesman for the exploratory committee, Eric Woolson.
"Gov. Pawlenty is extremely disappointed in Ben's actions and his behavior does not meet the standards he expects of his employees," Woolson said. "Therefore, the committee is placing Ben on a two-week unpaid suspension and expects him to bear the legal consequences for his action."
Ankeny Police Lt. Ed Hamilton confirmed the arrest but said the police report would not be available until some time Thursday. Lt. Hamilton explained what happened in the alleged incident in an interview. Here it is:
In Washington, the sun is out and the trees are blooming. But lawmakers haven't had much of a chance to enjoy the spring weather because they're locked in a series of struggles over this year's and next year's budget priorities.
To recap: the House never passed a budget last year so the government has been kept open through a series of stopgap funding bills. The latest bill expires Friday at midnight and Republicans have demanded deep cuts and policy provisions that the Democratic-controlled Senate won't abide by.
Standing in front of the Capitol today before a crowd of several hundred tea party supporters, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said Democrats are putting "us on a course for planned bankruptcy" and that government spending must be cut immediately.
Bachmann said Republicans don't want a government shutdown and that Democrats are to blame if a deal on this year's spending isn't reached. But in a reflection of tea party sentiment, minutes earlier the crowd had chanted, "shut it down," and signs at the protest had a similar message.
Shifting to the next budget battle, Rep. Paul Ryan proposed a spending plan for 2012 and beyond yesterday dubbed, "The Path to Prosperity" that Republicans say would balance the federal budget within 40 years.
The Wisconsin Republican's plan would dramatically change the Medicare program, which pays for health care for those 65 and older, by replacing it with a system of vouchers for seniors. Medicaid, a joint program with the states that provides health coverage to the poor, would be replaced with a block grant program with looser coverage requirements for states.
Standing outside of the Budget Committee hearing room this morning, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and fellow members of the left-leaning Congressional Progressive Caucus denounced Ryan's budget, which they called, "Ryan's road map to ruin."
"Our seniors, who have cut a path for all of us to walk behind, have got to have dignity in their lives as they are in their golden years," said Ellison.
Ellison said progressive Democrats will come up with their own proposal to balance the budget which would retain the traditional social safety net by emphasizing tax hikes rather than the tax cuts proposed by Ryan.
The budget proposed by Ryan stands little chance of being adopted by the Democrat-controlled Senate. That means that the current standoff over spending, with its noisy rallies and heated rhetoric, may carry into next year as both parties continue to wield the budget weapon against their political opponents.
Posted at 3:26 PM on April 6, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: MN Legislature
Jungbauer, of East Bethel, was hit near John Ireland and Kellogg boulevards. His staff said it wasn't clear how badly he was injured by the accident, but was taken to nearby Regions Hospital.
Republican caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb said his injuries didn't initially appear to be grave: "I haven't had an opportunity to discuss it with him yet," Brodkorb said. "He was alert and responsive the entire time, so our hope and belief is that he'll back soon. And my understanding is that he's being kept overnight, just for observations."
Jungbauer is 53 years old and a third-term senator from East Bethel. St. Paul police said they're still gathering information on the incident. Jungbauer's wife, Vicki, and his staff have spent much of the day at the hospital with him.