Posted at 6:42 AM on August 1, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Good Monday morning, and welcome to the Daily Digest.
Union workers have rejected a contract with American Crystal Sugar.
The new budget could force many Minnesota cities to raise property taxes.
Sen. Amy Koch told the House GOP to "stay strong" on the debt ceiling debate.
They have a deal, folks.
The plan calls for $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, a committee to recommend a plan to lower the deficit by Thanksgiving, and a two-step increase in the debt ceiling, according to the New York Times.
Expect lots of frantic vote counting in the next 24 hours, especially in the House where conservative freshmen may still be difficult to sell on the latest plan.
Neither Tea Party Republicans nor the most liberal wing of the Democratic party will like the debt plan.
Over the weekend, there were several votes on various debt proposals.
Rep. Chip Cravaack voted against House Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling. So did Rep. Michele Bachmann. After days of scraping together votes, the bill barely got through the House, only to be promptly rejected in the Senate.
Listen to Cravaack talk about the debt ceiling debate.
Meanwhile, Rep. Collin Peterson on Saturday voted against a plan drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Republicans won the House because of the popularity of Tea Party candidates. Now, those same candidates are making it tough for old-school Republicans to get what they want. (Ahem: debt ceiling.)
The Race for President
Bachmann's PoliGraph test produced mixed results.
With the Ames straw poll fast approaching,Bachmann is trying to broaden her appeal.
Bachmann said at the NPC that her husband, Marcus, is off limits. The Associated Press says Bachmann's rules have shifted since Barack Obama ran for president.
Americans want religious presidents, according to a new poll.
While Bachmann is going all-in in Iowa, Pawlenty is making Florida - another Republican stronghold - a priority.
Another article says Pawlenty's chances in Florida are looking good.
WASHINGTON - For the second time within a week, Michele Bachmann has put her presidential campaign in Iowa on hold to address the debt ceiling issue in Congress.
The GOP congresswoman's campaign announced that instead of attending in person, Bachmann will, schedule permitting, call into an event in Newton, IA from Washington, where a House vote on raising the government's borrowing authority is expected later today.
Bachmann has opposed any increase in the debt ceiling that does not gut last year's healthcare law.
Despite Bachmann's opposition, the debt limit increase appears set to pass both houses of Congress.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who's running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is not a fan of the proposed debt ceiling solution. Pawlenty's spokesman Alex Conant released the following statement Monday morning.
"This deal is nothing to celebrate. Only in Washington would the political class think it's a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot be sustained by our children and grandchildren. While no further evidence was needed, this entire debt ceiling fiasco demonstrates that President Obama must be replaced."
Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's also running for the GOP presidential nomination, released a statement Sunday night repeating her opposition to raising the debt ceiling.
"Mr. President, I'm not sure what voice you're listening to, but I can assure you that the voice of the American people wasn't the 'voice that compelled Washington to act.' It was you that got us into this mess, and it was you who wanted a $2.4 trillion dollar blank check to get you through the election."
"Everywhere I travel across the country, Americans want less spending, lower taxes to create jobs, and they don't want us to raise the debt ceiling. The President continues to press for a 'balanced approach,' which everyone knows is code for increased spending and taxes. Throughout this process the President has failed to lead and failed to provide a plan. The 'deal' he announced spends too much and doesn't cut enough. This isn't the deal the American people 'preferred' either, Mr. President. Someone has to say no. I will."
Unlike Pawlenty, Bachmann will get a chance to vote against the deal.(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - When big news hits in Washington, reporters' inboxes usually get flooded with press releases. But the big debt ceiling and deficit reduction deal struck by President Obama and congressional leaders yesterday has been playing out a little differently.
So far, just two members of Minnesota's delegation have taken a public stand on the agreement. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar came out in favor in an interview with MPR's Cathy Wurzer this morning.
"It's not the deal I would have written," said Klobuchar, "but you have to remember that the stakes are incredibly high."
GOP Congresswoman and presidential contender Michele Bachmann denounced the deal right away.
Rep. John Kline, who has close ties to the GOP leadership, was supportive of the agreement but didn't offer a full endorsement last night, according to spokesman Troy Young.
"While there is not a final deal, Congressman Kline is pleased the proposal appears to be based on the framework of "Cut, Cap and Balance" and includes no tax increases," Young wrote in an email. "While he has some initial concerns on how a joint committee could act and operate, he is still reviewing the plan and wants to ensure this or any agreement would fundamentally change the way Washington spends taxpayer money."
All eyes will be on DFL Rep. Keith Ellison today, who so far has remained silent. Other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that he co-chairs have already savaged the agreement.
Queries to other congressional offices have thus far turned up no response with most press secretaries saying that their bosses are still "studying" the bill's language.
Listen to audio of Klobuchar's interview with MPR News here:
Another national rating agency is taking a dim view of Minnesota's financial picture.
Moody's Investors Service announced today that it has lowered the outlook for the state from "stable" to "negative." However, Minnesota's credit ratings remained the same. In a news release, Moody's said the outlook revision reflects "political intractability" and the "reliance on one-time measures" to balance the state budget.
Minnesota Management & Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter confirmed the revision in a separate news release.
"This is a reminder that having a strong, balanced economy is not enough to keep high credit ratings. Sooner or later, we need to fix the state's budget so that it does not rely on one-time solutions," Schowalter wrote. "That continuing problem is particularly unfortunate because it obscures Minnesota's many strengths, including its general economy, strong forecasting process, and conservative debt management practices. But until a structural budget balance is achieved, we cannot assume that Minnesota's financial condition is well above average."
MMB noted that Minnesota still has its AAA rating from Standards and Poors. A third agency, Fitch, downgraded Minnesota from AAA to AA+ in early July.
Posted at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2011
by Brett Neely
WASHINGTON - Minnesota's House delegation voted 4-4 to extend the nation's borrowing authority. Overall, the vote was 269 for, 161 against.
In a moment of high drama, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who narrowly survived a shooting in January, returned to the House chamber for the first time since the assault to cast a vote. Vice President Joe Biden was also in the Capitol, accompanying Giffords.
Republicans John Kline and Erik Paulsen were joined by DFLers Collin Peterson and Tim Walz in favor of the measure, which had consumed Washington and the public for weeks on end.
"While it is far from perfect, I am pleased this proposal is based on the framework of 'Cut, Cap and Balance' and free from any job-killing tax hikes," said Kline in a statement, referring to an earlier bill which failed in the Senate.
DFLers Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum voted against the bill, joining their ideological polar opposites, Republicans Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack.
"Tying massive cuts to a debt ceiling increase is completely unnecessary, totally counterproductive, and it will make America's job crisis even worse," said McCollum in a statement. "And, with this bill, the Republicans are tossing the heavy burden of deficit reduction onto America's middle class without asking even one penny from the nation's wealthiest individuals and corporations."
174 Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling, joined by 95 Democrats. The other 95 Democrats voted against the bill, as did 66 Republicans.
The Senate votes tomorrow around noon on the measure. Both Minnesota Senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, said today they would vote for the bill.(2 Comments)