Gov. Dayton, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Sen. Al Franken will head to Ely today to survey the damage caused by a fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
A specialized team takes over the management of the fire.
Jobs and the Economy
Minnesota saw small gains in employment in August as state workers return. The private sector added jobs too.
Gov. Dayton directed four of his commissioners to create a "mining subcabinet."
Dayton also marked the opening of the Faribault Woolen Mill.
Under the Dome
The Star Tribune says DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson says DHS employees must report any suspicious deaths in department-operated facilities to her within an hour. All other deaths at the facilities must be reported to her within 24 hours.
The Perpich Center considers taking over East Metro Integration District's 2 schools.
DFL and local school officials in Sartell speak out in favor of levy (and the push to oppose it).
Republicans are rewriting state election laws across the country.
Rest in Peace
GOP Rep. Jim Abeler's son died in his sleep on Wednesday night.
A New York Times/CBS poll says just 12 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job.
President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a former Marine.
The White House weighs the limits of the terror fight.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner says he won't accept any tax increases even if the Super Committee proposes it.
President Obama will shield Social Security from cuts in his new deficit-reduction plan.
The House GOP pushes a stopgap spending bill.
The Senate sent a disaster relief bill to the House.
The Postal Service may close four post offices in MN.
The shutdown of the FAA has been averted.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is one of several senators that are urging the Super Committee to "go large."
DFL Sen. Al Franken is calling for an "explicit ban" on discrimination to GLBT students.
GOP Rep. John Kline is pushing a bill that would restrict the National Labor Relations Board.
Race for Congress
Norm Coleman is hosting a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack today.
Race for President
Democratic strategist James Carville says President Obama should panic.
AP says the GOP candidates are bashing the stimulus but have benefitted from it.
Vin Weber, who is now advising Mitt Romney, says Rick Perry is the front-runner.
During a stop in Iowa, Perry ripped Romney.
AP says Perry supplemented his income with private deals.
The Merck lobbyist who pushed Perry to issue an executive order on the HPV vaccine is now running a Super PAC supporting Perry.
Politico says Perry is one of the most secretive governors in the country.
NBC says Perry is inconsistent on foreign policy.
The New York Times says misstatements trail GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann continues to defend her remarks on the HPV vaccine.
MPR says Bachmann has put her faith in challenging science.
Bachmann is urged to condemn bullying.
The University of Iowa apologizes after a tweet refers to Bachmann as a cougar.
Posted at 11:45 AM on September 16, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - Twin Cities members of Congress Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison want the Internal Revenue Service to make doing taxes easier for gay and lesbian taxpayers.
The two DFLers and 72 other House members (all Democrats except for one Republican) have written IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman asking the agency to clarify issues such as community property rights for same-sex couples.
"These couples face significant complexity in filing even the most simple of returns, often resulting in improper enforcement action by the Internal Revenue Service," according to a copy of the letter.
While 15 states fully recognize same-sex unions and four others provide some recognition, under the federal Defense of Marriage Act those couples don't receive equivalent treatment for their federal taxes.
This isn't the only piece of DOMA-related news from the Minnesota delegation this week. On Wednesday, DFL Rep. Tim Walz signed on a co-sponsor of a Democratic bill to repeal DOMA.
President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to grow jobs earlier this month, and he said it's getting great reviews from economists.
"When you look at what independent economists are saying about the American Jobs Act... uniformly what they are saying is this buys us insurance against a double-dip recession, and it almost certainly helps the economy grow and will put more people back to work," he said in an interview with NBC News's Brian Williams.
Uniform approval? No. Lots of compliments with a few important caveats? Yes.
Among other things, Obama's job plan would extend and expand the Social Security payroll tax cut; give businesses a $4,000 tax break for hiring the long-term unemployed; extend unemployment benefits; and increase spending on public works projects.
Many economists say they like Obama's plan, and that the plan would help stave off a second recession and create jobs.
For instance, Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics and former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, called it a "laudable effort" that would "go a long way toward stabilizing confidence, forestalling another recession, and jump-starting a self-sustaining economic expansion."
He estimates that Obama's plan would add nearly 2 million jobs to the workforce, reduce the unemployment rate by a percentage point, and boost economic growth by 2 percentage points next year.
An estimate by another firm called Macroeconomic Advisers was similarly optimistic, saying the plan would boost GDP by total of 1.3 percent and create roughly 1.3 million jobs by the end of 2012.
Still, even economists who support the plan have some qualms. Some expressed concern that it doesn't deal with mortgage debt, which many economists say is the root of the nation's financial woes.
Others question whether consumers will spend the extra cash they get from the payroll tax cut. And if they do, some suggest that the money will end up creating jobs overseas because the nation imports a lot of goods.
Of course, the plan has critics, too. James Sherk of the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation wrote that unemployment benefits should not be extended because they do little to boost the economy.
And Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's business school, wondered in an op-ed how the plan's $447 billion price tag fits into the long-term goal of dealing with the deficit.
Obama exaggerated a bit by saying that, uniformly, economists say his plan will work; some take serious issue with the proposal. Still, many have mostly good things to say about the strategy, and at least two estimates support the underlying goal of Obama's plan, which is to grow jobs and boost the economy.
For his first PoliGraph test, Obama's claim leans toward accurate.
NBC News, Obama: Jobs plan is insurance against a 'recession', Sept. 12, 2011
The White House, Fact Sheet and Overview, Sept. 8, 2011
The Los Angeles Times, Economists give Obama's jobs plan mixed reviews, By Don Lee and Jim Puzzanghera, Sept. 8, 2011
The Washington Post, Obama jobs plan: Economists give good reviews but say more needed on mortgage debt, by Zachary A. Goldfarb, Sept. 9, 2011
USA Today, Many economists say Obama jobs plan will help, by Paul Wiseman
National Public Radio, Economists weigh effectiveness of Obama jobs plan, by Marilyn Geewax, Sept. 9, 2011
Moody's Analytics, An analysis of Obama's jobs plan, by Mark Zandi, Sept. 9, 2011
Macroeconomic Advisers, American Jobs Act: A Significant Boost to GDP and Employment, Sept. 8, 2011
UPI, Will Obama put Americans' jobs ahead of his own?, by Peter Morici, Sept. 16, 2011
The Heritage Foundation, Extended UI Payments Do Not Benefit the Economy, by James Sherk, Sept. 8, 2011(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann has released a new video equating Democratic President Barack Obama and her Republican rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The Stillwater Congresswoman has dubbed Perry's attempt to require Texas girls to be immunized against the HPV virus, which causes cervical cancer, "Perrycare" in the same vein that Republican opponent's to Obama's healthcare law call it "Obamacare."
"Whether it's Obamacare or Perrycare, I oppose any governor or president who mandates a family's healthcare choices," Bachmann says in the video. "Especially if the decision-making process occurs behind closed doors, bypassing legislative action, and favors campaign contributors over families."
After landing a powerful punch against Perry in this week's GOP presidential debate about his support for the mandatory HPV vaccination, Bachmann lost the initiative after she claimed in interviews that the vaccine could cause mental retardation. That statement has been widely condemned for its inaccuracy across the political and scientific spectrum.
Two professors have even put up a reward of more than $10,000 for anyone who can come forward with credible medical evidence that Bachmann's claim is true.
Missing from Bachmann's latest ad is another Republican rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. As governor, Romney enacted a health care law similar to the federal law that mandates universal coverage by all of the state's residents. When former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in the presidential race, he briefly took a swipe at Romney for the plan, dubbing it "Obmneycare."
Here's the video:
GOP Rep. John Kline is hosting a Jobs Fair on Monday in Eagan. The event, which features 68 businesses, will be held at the Eagan Community Center between 9AM and 1PM.
Kline's office says employment assistance organizations and a several educational institutions are also scheduled to attend the event. Kline's office says more than 750 Minnesotans attended a similar Jobs Fair.