Good Morning, and welcome to the Daily Digest.
Chris Eaton, a longtime DFL and union activist, says she's running for the seat formerly held by Sen. Linda Scheid, who died in June of ovarian cancer.
The PoliGraph says Rep. Paul Thissen's claim about millionaire tax filers is correct.
Both the GOP and DFL state parties are recruiting candidates despite the prospect of redistricting.
Bradlee Dean, the minister who recited a controversial prayer on the Minnesota House of Representatives floor back in May, is suing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and a local writer.
Three public school leaders were on Midday talking about how the payment delay used to close the budget gap will affect schools.
Tucked into the new budget bill is a $1.5 million study of the state's water quality standards, which are meant to protect wild rice.
Congressional hearings in Washington had a Minnesota focus.
House Speaker John Boehner spent Wednesday whipping up support among rank-and-file Republicans for his plan to raise the debt ceiling. The latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office has his plan saving about $917 billion - much better than Tuesday's estimate of $850 billion.
Sen. Al Franken writes about the budget deficit in the Worthington Daily Globe.
The Race for President
Rep. Michele Bachmann will address a crowd at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., today. Midday will be airing the event live at noon central time.
A new Gallup poll shows that her support among Republican voters is growing.
The Washington Post contrasts Bachmann's personality with Pawlenty's - a contrast that's been playing out for years first in Minnesota, and now on the campaign trail. This graf pretty much sums up differences between the two politicians: "Pawlenty said he was conservative, yet Bachmann seemed to say it more loudly. He talked about his faith, and she talked about it more. He said he was a true believer, but Bachmann was somehow more believable."
Chris Cillizza over at the Post says all the bro-ha-ha about Bachmann's migraines and make-up is good for her image.
Here's an alternative take on Bachmann's headaches.
According to a new poll, 42 percent of Minnesotans think Republican legislators are responsible for the government shutdown.
Of the Minnesotans surveyed, 21 percent think Gov. Mark Dayton's to blame, 22 percent think both parties are responsible and 15 percent have no opinion, according to the survey, which was conducted by MinnPost and Daves & Associates Research.
According the write-up in MinnPost, 56 percent of Republicans say Dayton's to blame for the shutdown, while 10 percent say the GOP is at fault (the rest had no opinion or pinned blame on both parties.) And 68 percent of Democrats blamed Republicans while 2 percent blamed Dayton.
What's really interesting about the poll is how self-identified independents view the shutdown. Nearly half - 46 percent - say the GOP is responsible, while only 18 percent say Dayton's to blame. And 25 percent of indepdents blamed both parties.
The poll also asked how the budget should be balanced, and most Minnesotans - 66 percent - favor a combination of cuts and tax increases, while 23 percent favor spending cuts only.
It's worth noting that the poll wasn't meant to predict how Minnesotans will vote in the next election; those polled were not screened for whether they are likely voters, according to the MinnPost story.
We've put out a request for comment from the GOP leadership, and will update the story accordingly.
Hours before a critical vote to raise the debt ceiling in the House of Representatives, Rep. Michele Bachmann said the White House is using "scare tactics" to build support for a plan to borrow more.
"We have to stop making raising the debt limit routine," the Minnesota Republican told a crowd at the National Press Club.
It's time for Washington to "end the illusion" that it knows how to spend taxpayer dollars correctly, Bachmann said. As a legislator and, if elected president, she said she will put her foot down.
"I have the titanium spine to see it through," she said.
Bachmann's signed a pledge to vote against raising the debt ceiling unless it's paired with deep spending cuts. She's already rejected a GOP plan because it didn't cut enough or defund the federal health care overhaul passed in 2010.
The bill did "not go far enough in fundamentally restructuring the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars," she said in a press statement the day she voted against the legislation.
The lower chamber is expected to vote on a second GOP plan to raise the debt limit later Thursday, and Bachmann's said she'll also vote against that plan.
Bachmann said that Obama's argument that Congress must raise the debt ceiling or face economic catastrophe is a "flawed assumption." Poligraph examined this argument from Bachmann when she mentioned it last month, and found that the nation does have enough cash to pay interest on the debt, but it would likely come at the cost of paying other financial obligations.
The Minnesota congresswoman also used her hour at the podium to burnish her conservative credentials, praising former President Ronald Reagan and retelling the story of how she voted for Jimmy Carter in college, but became a Republican after being disappointed by his policies.
She also deflected questions about recent news reports that her husband's counseling clinic urges prayer to rid patients of homosexuality.
"I am extremely proud of my husband," she said. "I am running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency... Neither is our business."
Bachmann also talked about her experiences so far on the campaign trail. She said she hears over and over that people "fear they may have lived through pinnacle of American greatness."
"They want progress," she said. "And they certainly want that for their kids."(11 Comments)
Posted at 4:09 PM on July 28, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - Later this afternoon, the U.S. House will vote on Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the federal government's debt ceiling while making deep corresponding cuts to the federal budget. Having squelched an apparent rebellion in his ranks, House Republicans seem increasingly confident that the bill will pass.
But freshman Republican lawmaker Rep. Chip Cravaack remains on the fence about Boehner's plan. As he approached the House chamber on Thursday afternoon for a round of votes, Cravaack would not answer questions about his stance on Boehner's bill, saying only, "I'm still assessing the situation." The AP's Martiga Lohn tweeted that Cravaack said on WCCO Radio that he's "leaning toward no" on the Boehner plan.
Boehner's bill would raise the debt ceiling by an initial $900 billion, in exchange for a similar amount of cuts.
A second debt ceiling increase of $1.6 trillion would be authorized next year after a special bipartisan, bicameral panel of lawmakers recommends an equivalent amount of cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Treasury Department says it will run out of borrowing authority on Aug. 2, making a resolution of the debt ceiling issue of the utmost importance.
A group of conservative House Republicans belonging to the Republican Study Committee had opposed the Speaker's proposal, arguing it didn't make deep enough cuts. While Cravaack is not a member of the RSC, he has spoken often about his desire to see deep spending cuts to the federal budget.
Cravaack, who won a surprise victory last fall in a district that's seen as a DFL stronghold, is in a tricky position. Should he defy the House leadership, he's likely to get no help from the national Republican party to defend his seat. But if he votes for the bill, Cravaack will have handed his DFL opponent a potent campaign issue and may even open space for a Republican primary challenger.
As reported earlier, Minnesota's other Republican members of Congress are divided on the bill. Rep. John Kline, who is close to Boehner, supports the Speaker's bill. Rep. Michele Bachmann remains opposed to the bill, arguing that the debt ceiling should never be raised.
Like Cravaack, Rep. Erik Paulsen also remains on the fence. As Paulsen entered the House chamber today, he was seen in conversation with Rep. Paul Ryan, the influential chairman of the House Budget Committee who's a strong proponent of Boehner's bill.
Governor Dayton has raised $80,321 since he took office in January. His campaign spent $55,187 between January 1 and July 1, mostly on things like legal fees, payroll for campaign staff and a contribution to the DFL Party. The campaign reports having $54,504 in the bank.
Dayton vowed to voluntarily disclose his fundraising activity on a quarterly basis even though he's not required to do so by law. He's been pushing for increased disclosure of campaign fundraising for politicians, political committees and political parties. He said the current disclosure dates don't give the public a good idea of how political money is spent when the Legislature is in session. His proposal didn't make any progress in the Republican controlled Legislature.
Here's the full report.(1 Comments)
State Senator Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville), says he won't run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012.
"Over the last several weeks many people have encouraged me to take this opportunity seriously," he said in a press statement. "I have taken their advice, but have decided not to run."
"The new Senate Republican majority has transformed the discussion and dramatically impacted the direction of policy in this great state," Thompson added. "Our work has just begun."
That leaves former state Rep. Dan Severson as Klobuchar's only challenger. Her approval ratings have been remarkable; for instance a poll conducted in late May shows that 61 percent of Minnesotans approve of the job Klobuchar is doing in Washington.
Posted at 8:20 PM on July 28, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - Minnesota Republican Chip Cravaack appears to be resisting calls from House Speaker John Boehner to vote yes on the Speaker's plan to raise the debt ceiling.
Cravaack's Capitol Hill office was filled with staffers drinking Cherry Coke and watching cable news for updates on the standoff that's developed between Boehner and fiscal conservatives who say the Speaker's plan doesn't make deep enough offsetting cuts in federal spending.
A vote on the bill was originally scheduled for around 6 PM Thursday. But Boehner's bill was pulled from the floor at the last minute after it became clear to Republican leaders that they lacked the 217 votes needed for passage. The Republican caucus has 240 members and Democrats say none of their members will cross the aisle to support the Boehner bill.
While Cravaack didn't emerge from his office, a Cravaack aide said the congressman's arm was "black and blue" from the metaphorical arm-twisting being applied by the House GOP leadership. Other aides said the office had received a series of visitors, presumably Republican leaders, urging Cravaack to vote yes. One aide said Cravaack continued to "research" the debt ceiling issue.
As recently as this afternoon, Cravaack told MPR News that he remained undecided about Boehner's debt ceiling bill, but at this point it's clear that he would prefer a bill that makes even deeper cuts than what the Speaker is proposing.
The position of Minnesota's other three Republican House members is now clearer after Rep. Erik Paulsen told MPR News this evening that he planned to vote yes for Boehner's measure. Paulsen was reassured by after at the additional spending cuts made in a tweaked version of the bill. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's also running for president, has pledged to vote no on the bill. Rep. John Kline has been a vocal supporter of it.
Still, even if Boehner gets the bill through the House tonight, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised to hold a vote immediately after the House vote. All 53 Senate Democrats, including Minnesota DFL Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, have promised to vote down Boehner's bill.
UPDATE: The House leadership called off the vote last night around 10:30 PM after deciding to make adjustments to the bill to attract recalcitrant members. Cravaack remained unavailable for comment and his staff would not say how the congressman planned to vote on the new bill that's expected on the House floor later today.