With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota congressional

Party line splits on House approval to arm Syrian rebels

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 18, 2014 - 12:42 PM

WASHINGTON -- It's not often that Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan join together to support the same amendment.

On Thursday, an odd blend of bedfellows voted against a $5 billion measure to arm Syrian rebels in the fight to combat the terror group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which passed 273 to 156.

Bachmann, Nolan and Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum voted against the proposal. Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Keith Ellison joined Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen in support.

Bachmann tweeted after the vote: "Many of the so-called "moderate" rebels have already joined the cause of Islamic jihad. Concerned U.S. weapons could fall into enemy hands."

Nolan uttered a similar sentiment on the House floor Tuesday. His impassioned speech earned him exposure on the CBS morning news.

"Remember, last year at this time we were ready to attack (Syrian President) al-Assad and Syria. Now we appear in a tacit alliance with Assad and his allies to defeat ISIL," he said. "Today we appear ready to send $5 billion to the FSA ... The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result."

Paulsen said, in a statement, he supported the measure with reservations.

"I remain concerned about the administration's ability to effectively and appropriately vet Syrian opposition forces to ensure we are training groups aligned with our interest in defeating ISIL," he said, noting he found it "necessary to provide the president with this limited and short-term authority."

McCollum, in a statement, called the debate "rushed."

"The CIA is already training and arming Syrian fighters in Jordan, without congressional approval. How well has that worked? We are not discussing that as a body," she said.

The Senate takes this up Thursday. Sen. Al Franken in an interview on Wednesday said he had concerns about arming Syria and was still undecided.

Palin backs Tom Emmer’s U.S. House bid

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 16, 2014 - 8:53 AM

Sarah Palin is calling on conservatives to help send Republican Tom Emmer to Congress to “put career politicians in the penalty box.”

In a Facebook post packed with hockey references, Palin wrote: “This former hockey player, coach, and current hockey dad won’t have any patience for their ‘gross misconduct.’”

Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, is widely respected by conservative activists. But Emmer likely won’t need much outside help to win the race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Sixth Congressional District is the most Republican-leaning seat in the state and Emmer, a former state representative and conservative radio talk show host from Delano, is a heavy favorite to defeat Democrat Joe Perske in November.

Palin also backed Emmer's 2010 bid for governor and waded into Minnesota politics earlier this year when she endorsed Republican Julianne Ortman in the U.S. Senate race. Ortman ultimately lost the party endorsement to businessman Mike McFadden.

Comedian Maher targets Kline for 'Flip a District' campaign

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 15, 2014 - 4:15 AM

HBO host Bill Maher is targeting U.S. Rep. John Kline as the Republican lawmaker he wants to oust from Congress in his "Flip a District" challenge.

The comedian and political satirist announced the "winning loser” during a live broadcast of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

“John Kline doesn’t say kooky things, but he votes just like the people who do,” Maher said.

Calling him the “champion of for-profit colleges,” Maher said he targeted Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than times and siding against gay marriage and a minimum wage increase.

In 2012, Maher donated $1 million to a political action committee devoted to President Obama’s re-election campaign. But the comedian could have a tough time unseating Kline, who's not a top Democratic target

Kline faces a rematch this year with former Democratic state Rep. Mike Obermueller.

“This news confirms what we’ve been hearing more and more of each day: folks in the [Second District] are tired of John Kline, and they’re ready to kick him out office,” Obermueller said in a statement. “People are fired up and are organizing across the district to remove him from a seat he’s become too comfortable in.”

Obermueller lost to Kline by eight points in 2012, but faces a much less favorable environment in a midterm election year when Kline is expected to coast to re-election.

Like Obermueller, Kline hopes to seize on the announcement as a rallying point. He’s aiming to raise $100,000 for television ads to counteract Maher’s campaign.

“As promised, Maher is turning his liberal guns on our districts and using his TV megaphone and million-dollar war chest to defeat me in November,” Kline wrote in an email to supporters.

“My opponent … is walking hand-in-hand with Maher and has practically named him his campaign manager, focusing on the #FlipADistrict campaign against me and doing whatever he can to pander to Maher and his extreme liberal friends.”

Viewers picked Kline as Maher's target, selecting him over three other House Republicans: Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Blake Farenthold of Texas and Mike Coffman of Colorado.

McFadden backs Rep. Bachmann proposal to rescind passports of ISIS fighters

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 9, 2014 - 11:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Tuesday he favored a proposal introduced this week in the House that revokes passport and re-entry privileges for American citizens who fight overseas for Islamic militants.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann Monday.

Bachmann's bill, dubbed the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, amends existing laws and rescinds re-entry privileges for people who join terrorist armies overseas. A companion measure was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Cruz that goes a step further and allows the U.S. government to strip citizenship of any person joining military forces with countries at war with the United States. 

McFadden's spokesman said he thinks Cruz's bill could be unconstitutional based on previous Supreme Court rulings on citizenship revocation.

Bachmann, who was on Fox News last night talking about her bill, endorsed McFadden at the May GOP convention in Rochester.

McFadden said in a statement Tuesday: "It is necessary that we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from occurring and to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home."

McFadden is hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Expecting a Franken response to the legislation in the next couple hours.

Bachmann tells Fox News she's 'very concerned' about Islamic State

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 9, 2014 - 12:48 PM

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that Americans who join, support or fight with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant should lose their U.S. citizenship, and touted her legislation that would bar anyone who does so from returning to the country.

On Monday, Bachmann introduced her “Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act.” Upward of 100 Americans are believed to be fighting with ISIL. Federal authorities say at least a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota are among those who have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East.

“The FBI … told me yes, there are Minnesotans that are in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. I asked them … if these individuals want to come back to the United States, they have U.S. passports, would be allowed to do so,” Bachmann told Van Susteren. “I was blown away when the FBI told me they could come back into the United States … as many of them have.”

Islamic State's advances and reports of brutality, including the videotaped beheading of two U.S. journalists, have ramped up pressure on Congress to support efforts against the militant group.

Bachmann’s measure would amend existing U.S. law to make becoming a member of, fighting for, or providing material assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization the equivalent of renouncing U.S. citizenship. The bill is similar to legislation that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is advocating for in the upper chamber.

The House Intelligence Committee, of which Bachmann is a member, met Monday to discuss ISIL and other international threats.

Piggybacking on Bachmann's bill, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also called for strict penalties for Americans going abroad to fight with ISIL and like-minded groups.

"It is necessary ... to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home," McFadden said in a statement.

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