Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is backing a resolution that would scale back President Obama’s power.
Criticism that Obama is overstepping his bounds intensified after his State of the Union address, when he vowed to make decisions without congressional approval.
Obama’s plans have renewed interest in the Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP) Resolution, a Republican-backed bill with more than 70 co-sponsors.
“Sadly, the President is continuing to disregard the Constitution like never before,” Bachmann said in her State of the Union reaction.
“If a law is politically inconvenient, or he simply disagrees with it, the President believes he can legislative unilaterally without congressional input. This lawlessness is becoming President Obama’s legacy, and not only is it unconstitutional, it reduces faith in his office.”
The STOP resolution would direct the Republican-led U.S. Houes to file a civil lawsuit in federal court to challenge actions Obama has announced in recent years. Bachmann is the only Minnesota lawmaker that has signed on in support, but Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline has called Obama's use of executive action "disturbing."
The lawsuit would seek to void the Obama administration's decision to extend for a year insurance policies that would otherwise have been canceled under the Affordable Care Act. It would also challenge the one-year delay of the law’s s employer mandate requiring companies to offer insurance or pay a penalty.
The lawsuit would contend that each of those actions violated the section of the Constitution setting out that the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
Obama announced Tuesday that will use his executive power to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers on new government contracts. The move drew praise from liberal lawmakers, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.
“The President and I do agree – America faces grave challenges in 2014 and beyond. However, what he sees as an excuse for growing the national debt and further government involvement in Americans’ lives, I believe is merely a symptom of the larger problem of too much big government power and overreach," Bachmann said after the State of the Union.
Seats at President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night will be filled with the legislative priorities of the 113th Congress.
On a night when the president lays out his blueprint for the year, members of Congress often choose their guests to convey a message of their own: the person often symbolizes a policy or issue the lawmaker is promoting.
In Minnesota, those issues range from job training and fighting poverty to ending child sex trafficking and repealing President Obama’s health care law.
Here’s a member-by-member look at the guests of the state’s congressional delegation:
U.S. Sen. Al Franken will host Erick Ajax, vice president and co-owner of E.J. Ajax and Sons, a Minneapolis-based metal-stamping company. Franken has introduced legislation that would create a multi-billion dollar grant program to fund partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges to fill job openings in high-demand fields.
Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy will be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s guest. A supporter of Mayo's partnerships to help match students' skills with jobs, Klobuchar has introduced legislation that would fund 100 new science, technology, engineering and math-themed high schools and support scientific research.
Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz will be U.S. Rep. Tim Walz's guest. Walz and Kuntz released a joint statement this month calling for passage of transportation funding bills in both houses of Congress in 2014.
U.S. Rep. John Kline will host Keith Anderson, vice chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The tribe is the largest employer in Scott County, which is part of Kline's district in the southern suburbs and exurbs of the Twin Cities.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s guest for President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday will be Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, a St. Paul-based organization that helps women escape prostitution. Paulsen, the author of two bills designed to combat child sex trafficking, wrote a letter to Obama this month, requesting that he address the issue during the speech.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s guest will be Clarence Hightower, executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, an anti-poverty agency. This year, McCollum plans to push for more federal grant money to be distributed to not-for-profit agencies, such as the Community Action Partnership, to tackle poverty.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will attend President Obama’s State of the Union speech as the guest of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. The two are working on plans to close the achievement gap in the city’s schools and radically reduce the amount of garbage the city sends to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching "zero waste."
Dr. Julie Anderson, a family physician from St. Cloud, will be U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s guest. A University of Minnesota Medical School graduate, Anderson has concerns about how the Affordable Care Act will affect her practice. Bachmann has been one of Congress’ most vocal critics of the health care reform law.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, who will not bring a guest, gave his pass to U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, according to staff.
As a result, Nolan will have two guests – Carri Jones, chairwoman of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Melanie Benjamin, executive director of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Nolan's northeastern Minnesota districts includes five of the six Minnesota Chippewa Tribe bands.
Republican U.S. House candidate Tom Emmer will tour the Sixth District ahead of the February precinct caucuses.
Emmer’s six-city, five-day tour swing begins Monday in St. Cloud and wraps up Friday in Waconia, with stops in Hugo, Anoka, Buffalo and Becker in between.
A former state representative and gubernatorial candidate, Emmer is one of three Republicans vying to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bachmann in the Sixth District, the most conservative in the state. Former state Rep. Phil Krinkie and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah are also vying to replace Bachmann.
With Emmer’s decision to abide by the GOP endorsement, the Feb. 4 precinct caucuses are critical for his campaign. In recent emails to supporters, Emmer has stressed the importance of lining up support from delegates ahead of convention season.
“For my campaign, this is an important first step in earning the endorsement of the grassroots activists to run for Congress,” Emmer wrote.
There are also three DFL candidates in the Sixth District race -- Sartell Mayor Joe Perske, activist Judy Adams of Circle Pines and Jim Read, a college professor from Avon, but the last Republican candidate standing will be a heavy favorite to represent the district.
The Rothenberg Political Report, a respected political handicapping service, lists the seat as “safe Republican.”
Republican state Sen. John Pederson told supporters on Friday that he was dropping out of the race to replace U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
"It has become apparent to me that I cannot continue this campaign and still balance my other priorities in life. Because of this conflict I have decided to withdraw my name from the race," he said.
Pederson, of St. Cloud, faced a crowded field in the heavily Republican district. Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, former state lawmaker Phil Krinkie and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah are all running for the GOP nod.
"This decision is a personal choice, and is in no way a reflection upon the countless contributors and volunteers who have helped me these past six months," Pederson said.
Pederson, who sent out an e-mail fundraising appeal last week, told the St. Cloud Times that he would have had enough funds to continue in the race.
According to a campaign finance report he filed late last fall, he had about $40,000 cash on hand. At that point, Krinkie had $315,000; Emmer had $275,000 and Sivarajah had $184,000. Krinkie and Sivarajah lent their campaign considerable cash, boosting their finance numbers.
Three rivals for Michele Bachmann's congressional seat found a great deal of common ground at a Saturday night candidate forum in Andover.
Three of the four declared Republican candidates -- former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and state Sen. John Pederson -- squared off at a forum hosted by the Sixth District Republicans. Although "squared off" might be too strong a term for an event where the candidates staked out similar positions on issues ranging from abortion to immigration to the budget deal Congress hammered out this weekend.
All three blasted the bipartisan budget agreement that will avert the threat of a government shutdown for the next two years. All three said they would vote against similar deals in the future if they're the one the voters decide to send to Washington. The agreeable tone continued throughout the debate.
"My priorities are roads and bridges," said Pederson, in response to a question about their support, or lack thereof, for the Northstar commuter rail corridor. "We're going to have more trains until people in strong districts like CD6 get out and help people in other districts defeat Democrats who want those trains."
"We need to be focusing our limited resources on roads and bridges," said Sivarajah, who called the light rail plans a "boondoggle."
"I've never supported rail," Emmer agreed.
What about auditing the Federal Reserve? Would the candidates support that idea if elected to Congress? Absolutely, Pederson and Sivarajah said.
"Why stop there?" Emmer said. "Why not audit the IRS? Why not audit the NSA? Why not audit the Department of Education?... Everything should be audited."
The tone of civility and unity was deliberate. Battered by the 2012 election cycle and the loss of the Legislature to the DFL, the people who paid $50 a head to hear the candidates speak on a snowy Saturday night wanted to hear how they planned to take down the Democrats -- not each other.
Bachmann missed the event, but her colleague, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., headlined, It was time, Duffy said, for the GOP to stop using ideological "purity tests."
"We're never going to win if we stand in a circle and shoot," Duffy said. "We have to be a family."
Missing from the forum was the fourth declared Republican in the race -- former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, who bowed out to protest the fact that the event was only open to the limited number of people who paid to get in.
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