From MPR's Conrad Wilson....
ST. CLOUD - Speaking before delegates at the state GOP convention, Eighth district Congressman Chip Cravaack warned that the GOP House could be in a budget battle later this year with President Obama.
"I can guarantee you that we are going to have one heck of a budget battle at the end of this year," Cravaack said in his speech to the delegates.
In an interview with MPR News following his speech, Cravaack said the only solution to the coming budget debate is for Republicans and Democrats to come together.
"One party's not going to solve this. We have to come together as Americans," he said. "We can't keep spending money we don't have."
If Congress doesn't pass a budget this year, across the board cuts in the current budget will get triggered. Cravaack, a former Navy pilot, said those cuts will hit defense spending especially hard.
"Sequestration is going to be absolutely disastrous for our military," he said. "Fifty-percent of that is coming out of national defense, which is only 20-percent of the actually budget in itself. So, do the math. An inordinate amount of money's being taken out of our military."
Cravaack was the only member of the state's Congressional delegation to address the convention. Republicans Eric Paulsen, John Kline and Michele Bachmann were noticeably absent.
Cravaack is facing a stiff reelection competition against three Democrats in the Eighth Congressional District. Former Congressman Rick Nolan won the DFL Party's endorsement but former state Senator Tarryl Clark and Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson say they'll run in the primary.
You can listen to Cravaack's speech here: Listen
(MPR's Tom Scheck contributed to this report)