WASHINGTON - John Kline was one of just 85 House Republicans to vote Tuesday night in favor of the bill that will raise taxes on Americans making more than $400,000, and he's taking heat from some conservatives for doing so.
"Rep. Kline's vote is inexplicable and disappointing. Raising taxes on job creators into the teeth of this recession is a recipe for higher unemployment. This vote is sad, and may engender a primary challenge in 2014 -- and Rep. Kline will have nobody to blame but himself," said Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, in a statement.
Andy Parrish, who used to work for Michele Bachmann, wrote on Twitter last night, "Can we recall the GOP endorsement of @repjohnkline".
Still, both threats to Kline need context. Americans for Limited Government appears to have spent no money during the 2012 campaign and spent just $33,000 opposing Republicans during the 2010 campaign, according the Center for Responsive Politics. The group did not spend money in other elections.
While Republican office holders treat the threat of a primary opponent seriously, Kline has a very conservative voting record with a nearly 94 percent conservative rating from the American Conservative Union.
Kline already has more than $500,000 in the bank to fend off challengers along with the ability to raise much more. Further, Kline's district became more friendly to Democrats after redistricting in 2012 (President Obama won the district by a narrow margin) so a more conservative Republican might struggle to hold the seat in the GOP's hands.(1 Comments)
The 2013 legislative session begins next week, and professional hockey will be one of the early topics discussed.
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, announced today that he plans to hold a hearing on the economic impact of the NHL lockout. Atkins will be the new chair of the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, which has scheduled the hearing for Jan. 23.
In a news release, Atkins said he has invited NHL players and owners, and that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will testify.
"Hearing from Mayor Coleman and the players will be helpful, and I hope to have NHL owners there, too, to explain why a business with record-setting revenues is shut down," Atkins said. "But I'm really hoping to give a voice to all those folks who are being hurt by this through no fault of their own - the restaurant servers, the parking lot attendants, the vendors, the fans, the small business owners - they are the ones who are suffering."
Atkins said he thinks it's appropriate to hold the NHL responsible for the economic impact on St. Paul, given that state tax money was used to build the Minnesota Wild's home arena.
"We need to consider legislation that sets out special rules for entities that accept public funds and then lock out employees and hurt local economies," he said.
Atkins said non-partisan House Research estimated that the NHL work stoppage has already cost $5.9 million in lost state and local tax revenue.(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - After the losses they took in last year's elections, some Minnesota Republicans have hoped that U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen would challenge DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014.
They're going to be disappointed.
When asked Wednesday whether he was interested in a run for Senate, Paulsen said, "No, that's ridiculous."
He emphasized that he wants to use his seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee to overhaul the tax code this year and said any legislation produced by that effort would the best way he could represent his constituents in the 3rd District, which spans the western Minneapolis suburbs.
Paulsen has served in the U.S. House since 2009 and before that served 13 years in the Minnesota House, including four years as Majority Leader. He's become one of the strongest fundraisers in the Minnesota congressional delegation, raising $3.1 million for his last election and still holds more than $770,000 for future races.
Paulsen's office says his use of the word "ridiculous" wasn't about running for Senate. A spokesman says Paulsen used the word in the context to the preface of the question that mentioned Paulsen's "no" vote on the fiscal cliff deal before asking whether he was running for Senate.