WASHINGTON -- Rep. Collin Peterson was among only three Democrats Thursday who supported a symbolic vote banning the executive branch from deferring deportation of undocumented immigrants -- a direct aim at President Barack Obama's November executive order on immigration.
The vote was not attached to any measure to fund the federal government to the chagrin of some Republicans including Rep. Michele Bachmann. She skipped the vote Thursday. Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen both supported the measure. The Dems all voted against it.
"I just disagreed with the way the president handled it," Peterson said, a couple hours after the vote. "I just think it's going to poison the well so we won't get anything else done."
He noted Thursday's measure was "imperfect" and "mostly symbolic."
Peterson, who was a Republican target last month in his Republican-leaning Seventh Congressional District, takes pride in brokering deals with the other side of the aisle to accomplish legislation.
He often notes the farm bill, which he nursed for years, picked up votes from both GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"I don't think this (immigration) should be done with executive orders," he said. "Especially when it caused commotion on the other side. I think it's going to make it very difficult to get anything else done."
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Keith Ellison was the only Minnesota House member Wednesday to vote against extending for one year more than 50 expired tax credits for special interests, individuals and businesses.
The tax-extenders package, which gives breaks for 2014, costs $44 billion a year and isn't "paid for" which means it contributes to the national debt. It includes a range of boons for both liberals and conservatives including tax breaks for state and local sales taxes paid and breaks for renewable fuels, wind production and medical research. The measure overwhelmingly passed the House Wednesday and heads to the Senate for a vote next week.
Ellison, a Democrat from Minneapolis, said in a statement Wednesday night he voted against it because it helps corporate America more than working America.
"The bill passed today does little for working families, but lots for corporations already booking big profits," he said.
WASHINGTON -- Calling President Barack Obama "lawless," Rep. Michele Bachmann said Wednesday that he had forgotten the voters' mandate a month ago and urged her colleagues to support a spending bill that would defund the implementation of his executive action on immigration reform.
"I want to know, have members of this body in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate forgotten the message that the American people loud and clear and unmistakably on Nov. 4?" Bachmann said. "Secure our borders, keep our families safe, uphold the laws of the land ... We stand in solidarity with the American worker and the American people and we are going to uphold ... the laws of the land."
The retiring congresswoman from the Sixth Congressional District shared a microphone outside the Capitol Wednesday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, among others. The gatherings had the trappings of a small Tea Party rally, with several people dressed in period clothing and carrying "Don't Tread on Me" flags.
Bachmann's message arrives at a time House and Senate leaders are trying to hammer out a plan to fund the federal government through next September. Senate Democrats are hoping for a "clean" spending bill that doesn't defund any aspect of the federal government, which technically runs out of money Dec. 11. GOP House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week indicated support for a clean bill, as well, but he vowed they would take a closer look at the president's executive action on immigration next year.
Cruz urged Congress to use its "power of the purse" to defund the president's plan. Several people stood by and yelled "monarchy!" in chorus and said they think Obama has overstepped his bounds.
WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's newest GOP congressman-elect Tom Emmer spent Wednesday on Capitol Hill, participating in an orientation for freshmen members, which includes finding a place to crash here and making a bid on committees.
Emmer, who is replacing Rep. Michele Bachmann from the Sixth Congressional District, said Wednesday he was seeking a spot on the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates banking, commerce and securities and exchanges. Bachmann had a spot on the committee.
Emmer, who made a failed attempt to be Minnesota's governor four years ago, said he looked forward to listening and learning as a newbie on the Hill. He said the gubernatorial bid and this most recent campaign has taught him some lessons.
"Maybe it's focus, maybe it's discipline," he said, over a coffee on an unseasonably warm day in Washington. "I may have grown dramatically ... I'm really excited to get a chance to do some policy."
In addition to Financial Services, Emmer said he was interested in the agriculture and transportation committees. House members generally serve on three primary committees and some subcommittees.
He said among his top priorities is to bring some influence to the Sixth district.
"This office needs to have some influence," he said. "I don't know how long that takes, but I'm willing to learn."
Minnesota Rep. Tony Cornish said he is very interested in running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in 2016.
Cornish, of Vernon Center, will begin his seventh term in the Legislature next year. He was unopposed in his re-election and netted 96 percent of the vote.
Walz, a former teacher and National Guard member, has held the southern First Congressional District since defeating longtime Rep. Gil Gutknecht in 2006. He won re-election on Tuesday with 54 percent of the vote.
Cornish, a straight-talking former lawman, said he is "seriously considering" a run against Walz in two years.
"I am just waiting to see what the donors and Republicans think," Cornish said. "I'm thinking about it still."
But, he said, he won't think about it for long.
"I'm always one that believes in coming out early," he said.
His interest was first disclosed by the Mankato Free Press.
Photo: Rep. Tony Cornish in 2011, chairing the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee/ Source: Dave Brewster, Star Tribune
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