WASHINGTON -- In one of her last speeches as a member of Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged border patrol agents aren't stopping "anyone" from entering the United States.
"I drove from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Boca Chica. It was shocking," she said, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation Wednesday. "The border control doesn't stop anyone from coming into the United States. And it's not their fault. It's the politicians' fault. Any foreign national who wants to come across the southern border comes in, they don't always get to stay necessarily, but they definitely get to come in."
The fact-checking website Politifact said that border patrol manpower along the nation's southern frontier is at an all-time modern high. There were 17,659 agents stationed along the southwest border of Mexico in 2011, Politifact said. The Department of Homeland Security shows a 412 percent increase in southwest border apprehensions from last year to this year, including family units and unaccompanied minors.
Bachmann alleged that if President Barack Obama granted amnesty to people living in the United States illegally, there would "presumably" be terrorists in that mix.
“When the president of the United States announced publicly that yes he was going to, by himself, unilaterally, grant amnesty to potentially millions of people illegally here in the United States. Presumably some of them could be terrorists that are in the United States who illegally have come across our southern border. That's one of our greatest fears. We don't know, but that's one of our greatest fears today.”
The two Americans who were killed fighting with ISIS were both naturalized citizens.
Bachmann also said the United States is the most generous country in the world in letting in legal immigrants. She said that by admitting more than one million legal immigrants as permanent residents annually, it topped all other countries' legal immigration numbers combined.
"If you took every other country in the world and you took the number of people they allow in for immigration and you added it up … every country in the world together doesn’t equal what the United States allows in immigration in one year.”
The Migration Policy Institute says this is only partially true. While the U.S. does allow in the most immigrants of any other country in the world, it's not more than all other countries combined.
"You will see that if you add up just a handful of the top countries (Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany and Canada) you top one million and that is before you add other ... countries," a spokeswoman wrote in an email.
Bachmann touted her proposed legislation that would give federal officials the right to revoke passport privileges of Americans who fight for terrorist organizations. She said Minnesota has a “tragic nexus to terrorism” given the two Americans who have died abroad fighting with the terrorist group had Minnesota ties.
“We need to take this threat from the Islamic State extremely seriously,” she said.
WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's ten members of Congress on Tuesday collectively asked for a meeting with VA Secretary Robert McDonald to talk about recent reports of falsified records at Minneapolis's VA hospital.
The request comes after VA records showed a neurology exam for 25-year-old Jordan Buisman was rescheduled four days after his death. The former corporal had been told he'd have to wait almost 70 days to see a specialist at the Minneapolis VA neurology clinic for his epilepsy, which was the reason he left the Marine Corps. He died 24 days before his appointment.
Four days later, someone wrote in his VA records that Buisman had canceled his neurology appointment. The story was first reported by KARE TV.
The VA Inspector General's office is currently investigating allegations of falsified records and manipulation with scheduling data. The delegation, Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tim Walz, John Kline, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan and Michele Bachmann, requested a meeting with Secretary McDonald once the findings are released by the IG.
"We are deeply troubled by serious allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs VA Health Care System," the delegation wrote.
VA Secretary McDonald, who was just sworn in a couple months ago, said over the weekend in a speech in Cincinnati that, "we know we have to work harder to earn that trust back one veteran at a time."
Retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has taken more privately financed trips in 2014 than any other member of Congress.
The Minnesota lawmaker's six trips include a visit to Haiti in August through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
The total cost of trips by members of Congress and their aides during August reached $766,000, according to LegiStorm. The nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group found that member trip cost $2 million last August.
That’s because lawmakers often scale back travel during election years, choosing to focus their attention on the campaign trail. With her plans to leave Congress at the end of the year and no re-election on the horizon, Bachmann has opted to hit the road more often.
Since January, Bachmann has also traveled to: a Heritage Foundation event in Richmond, Va., in February; England’s Oxford Union Society in March; an event hosted by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation in Dallas in March; Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Ok., in May; and the Western Conservative Summit in Denver in July, congressional records show.
During her first seven years in the U.S. House, Bachmann took 23 privately financed trips, for an average of slightly more than three per year.
A version of this item appeared in Morning Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.
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.
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.
|Vikings (7)||Health care (1)|
|1st District (154)||2nd District (150)|
|3rd District (119)||4th District (91)|
|5th District (171)||6th District (549)|
|Funding (670)||Health care (252)|
|Minnesota U.S. senators (625)||Minnesota campaigns (1615)|
|Minnesota congressional (856)||Minnesota governor (1771)|
|Minnesota legislature (2034)||Minnesota state senators (846)|
|National campaigns (505)||President Obama (417)|
|State budgets (836)||Celebrities (1)|
|Anoka (1)||Fridley (1)|
|2012 Presidential election (323)||7th District (116)|
|8th District (236)||NHL news (1)|
|Gov. Tim Pawlenty (455)||Political ads (121)|
|Recount (98)||Gov. Mark Dayton (1320)|
|Democrats (1217)||Republicans (1403)|
|Morning Hot Dish newsletter (126)||Sept11 (1)|
|Public safety (2)||Marriage Amendment News (1)|
|Voter ID News (2)||Budget news (4)|