Posted at 12:27 PM on February 6, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Campaign 2012
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is trying to give Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney a boost heading into Tuesday's precinct caucuses in Minnesota.
Pawlenty held a conference call with reporters today to specifically criticize Rick Santorum, who made a campaign stop earlier in the day in Rochester. Pawlenty highlighted what he described as Santorum's long history of pork-barrel spending. He said it's a record that should be concerning to conservatives, who are expected to make up a big share of Republican caucus attendees. Pawlenty predicted a close contest in Minnesota.
"I think Mitt will be competitive," Pawlenty said."But it's hard to tell who's going to be the person on the top of that pack. Turnout and small variations in turnout can have a big impact when you're dealing with such a small group of people."
Pawlenty was scheduled to host a late afternoon get-out-the vote rally for Romney, along with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Romney was not scheduled to attend the event in Edina. Newt Gingrich has a campaign stop planned tonight in Bloomington.
Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment that would require people to show photo identification to vote want to make it an issue at Tuesday's precinct caucuses. DFL Congressman Keith Ellison said today minority groups, college students, senior citizens and disabled people could all be disenfranchised if the so-called voter ID requirement is added to the constitution.
"The biggest problem that we have is sort of easy assumption that 'oh everyone has an ID, don't they?" Ellison said. "That's the problem because we have to sensitize the population about the needs of the 1, 2 or 3 percent of the population that doesn't have an ID but that very same person may be your mother or your grandmother."
A group of faith leaders have also scheduled a Tuesday morning news conference to speak out against the measure.
Supporters of the voter ID measure say it would ensure integrity in the election system. GOP legislative leaders say they're confident the Legislature will vote to put the constitutional on the 2012 ballot.
A Senate Committee held a hearing last week on the plan but didn't vote on it.
Posted at 6:00 PM on February 6, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON - Minnesota's two U.S. senators voted against authorizing long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration Monday evening, citing concerns about the impact the legislation would have on unions. The bill was approved 75-20 with five Republicans joining 15 Democrats in opposition.
The first permanent reauthorization of the FAA since 2007 was the product of long negotiations with House Republicans who had initially sought significant changes in the way union elections in the transportation sector were run as their price for approval of the bill.
While some of those provisions were removed, another was added that increases from 35 to 50 percent the amount of workers' signatures required to petition for a union to be formed. Many airline unions found that measure unacceptable and urged Democrats to oppose the bill.
"This legislation will make it much harder for Minnesotans to get the workplace protections provided by unions, and that's simply unacceptable to me," said DFL Sen. Al Franken in a statement explaining his no vote. Franken noted that the bill did protect funding for small, rural airports in Minnesota, a policy provision he had supported.
Fellow Democrat, Sen. Amy Klobuchar did not immediately issue a statement explaining her vote.
"...[P]rovisions that have nothing to do with the FAA were added to the conference report, and I don't believe this legislation is an appropriate venue for making unrelated policy decisions," said DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who also supported the improved air traffic control and passenger rights provisions of the bill but voted against the final legislation.
The bill also hastens U.S. air traffic control's transition to a satellite-based navigation system that's expected to reduce delays and lower pollution.