Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline expressed doubt Tuesday about the governor’s plan to rely on hoped-for federal stimulus money to balance the state’s budget.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty released a proposed budget Monday that banks on $387 million in not-yet-approved federal dollars to wipe about nearly one third of the state’s $1.2 billion deficit.

Kline was not as confident as Pawlenty that the money would come through.

“There is no guarantee,” said Kline, who represents Minnesota's 2nd District. “My crystal ball is in pretty bad shape for what Washington is going to do.”

Congressional leaders are rethinking which bills to pass now that Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof supermajority, Kline said.

“I can’t tell you what legislation is going to come up or in what form,” he said. “Frankly put, there are politics involved here.”

The governor’s plan puts Kline in an awkward position. The extra money that would help ease Minnesota’s budget woes would contribute to soaring federal spending and deficits, something many Republicans have criticized.

When it comes to the federal money needed in Pawlenty’s budget, the governor can’t count on Kline’s vote.

“In terms of federal government spending, I would go in as a skeptic that additional stimulus is a good idea,” Kline said.

Staf Writer Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this report.


 

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