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."
"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.
According to Federal Election Commission data, Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District race has attracted the most money from outside groups so far.
The contest between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Republican Stewart Mills has already seen nearly $1.4 million in PAC spending, with much of it coming from Nolan supporters, such as the House Majority Fund and the AFSCME union.
In contrast, the race for the Seventh Congressional District seat, which Republican Torrey Westrom hopes to snatch from longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, has only seen $245,000 in independent expenditures. Interestingly, the last filing documenting outside spending in that race was from eight months ago.
Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, so far, has drawn relatively little interest from independent spenders. According to FEC filings, outside groups have spent about $140,000 to weigh in on the battle between Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Mike McFadden.
The FEC calculations only include expenditures that represent, "spending by individual people, groups, political committees, corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates."
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The congressional campaigns of Republicans Stewart Mills III and Torrey Westrom are picking up more national attention.
An ABC News piece on the five “most interesting” 2014 GOP U.S. House candidates features Mills, labeled the “Republican Brad Pitt,” and Westrom, whom the piece dubbed “the sightless [state] senator who’s never lost an election.”
Mills is challenging Democrat Rick Nolan in the Eighth District and Westrom faces Democrat Collin Peterson in the Seventh District.
Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ran a story on the Westrom-Peterson race Tuesday suggesting this could be the toughest re-election race yet for Peterson, who’s seeking a 13th term in Congress.
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WASHINGTON -- Torrey Westrom, the Republican challenger to 12-term Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the Seventh Congressional District, carries tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt for both credit cards and student loans.
Westrom, an attorney and former state senator, owes between $15,001 and $50,000 to U.S. Bank in credit card loans. In addition, he owes between $50,001 and $100,000 to a student loan servicing company, according to personal financial disclosures filed earlier this year.
Westrom's campaign spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll said in a statement: "As small business owners, Torrey and his wife have a credit card for business-related expenses."
The Westroms own a real estate rental property business.
He also carries two mortgage debts, one between $15,001 and $50,000 and another between $100,001 and $250,000.
Personal financial disclosures are required annually of all members of Congress and anyone running for federal office.They must disclose assets and salary in huge ranges, like between $15,001 and $50,000 or $50,000 and $100,000.
Westrom's annual salary as a state senator is $31,140. He also noted on his disclosures that he earned $23,000 at Midwest Injury Law, LLC.
Rep. Peterson's disclosures show he has no credit card debt, but carries three mortgages: one between $100,000 and $250,000 on a residence in Washington, D.C., one between $250,002 and $500,000 on a property in Detroit Lakes and $100,001 to $250,000 on a mortgage owed on Peterson Farms. As a member of Congress, Peterson earns $174,000 annually as a member of Congress.
The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee used Saturday’s GOP weekly address to tout four congressional candidates, including Minnesota state Sen. Torrey Westrom.
Rep. Greg Walden urged voters to support Westrom and the other Republican candidates to bring accountability to Washington, D.C., and send a message to President Obama and congressional Democrats.
“As our campaign chairman, I can tell you our candidates for the House are people just as frustrated as you are; they are leaders who are ready to serve,” Walden said.
"Up in Minnesota, Torrey Westrom is talking to Minnesota families and farmers about the anti-energy policies and taxes that are making it harder for them to get by.”
Westrom is challenging 12-term Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the Seventh Congressional District.
"This November, Americans can reject the complacency and incompetence and begin to restore a government that works for us and not against us," Walden said.
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