Senate approves convention security money for Minnesota
Washington D.C. — (AP) - The U.S. Senate is giving the go-ahead for $100 million in security money for the 2008 Republican convention in St. Paul and the Democratic convention in Denver.
The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by both of Minnesota's senators, Republican Norm Coleman and DFLer Amy Klobuchar, that would provide $50 million apiece for security for the two conventions.
The vote was 76-15. It passed as an amendment to a veterans-military construction spending bill.
Some conservatives oppose the money. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, argued that the cities should have included security money in their bids to host the conventions. But Coleman said conventions are terrorism targets, and that security for them should be a federal responsibility.
Meantime, Republican Party officials have given $2 million to help the city of St. Paul in advance of the convention.
Republican National Convention President and CEO Maria Cino announced Thursday a $2 million deposit with St. Paul's University Bank.
The bank will use the money to create affordable housing and assist small businesses through rehabilitation and development loans in low income neighborhoods.
Cino says the $2 million is part of a larger federal government allocation to the convention.
"We cannot get interest on it, so we put it in a non-interest bearing loan. And it goes to the bank so that they can use that as they begin to give out other loans," Cino says. "We'll start drawing down on it sometime next year. But it's in a non-interest bearing loan, so it gives them some flexibility with their other money in the bank."
University Bank President David Reiling says the RNC deposit will translate to up to five home rehabilitations during the next year.
(The Associated Press and Minnesota Public Radio's Tim Pugmire contributed to this report)