A bipartisan coalition in Congress – including four Minnesota Democrats – is pressing leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to explore potential solutions to the propane shortage in the Upper Midwest.
“As members representing the Midwest, we respectfully write today to request a hearing into the current propane shortage, the long term outlook of Midwestern supply and potential solutions to the problems,” the members wrote.
“As you may know, households and businesses across the Midwest have seen significant spikes in the price of propane fuels during the severe winter cold. Any further reduction in supply threatens to leave our constituents without the fuel necessary to heat their homes and keep livestock and poultry barns warm.”
U.S. Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson signed the letter along with lawmakers from Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin also signed the letter.
Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive council extended an emergency order to alleviate Minnesota’s propane shortage. Suppliers have been unable keep up with demand during the brutal cold that has battered businesses and homeowners.
Friday is Federal Election Commission deadline day when federal candidates and groups must file their fundraising figures for 2013.
Follow along as we update our chart below with the cash hauls reported the the campaign finance agency.
Note: You may need to scroll a bit to see all the numbers.
Republican U.S. House candidate Stewart Mills III reported $205,000 in fundraising during the last three months of 2013 in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.
Nolan has yet to make his fourth quarter reports public, but has until Friday to do so. His last report, filed in October, showed that he had raised $130,000 million in the previous three months and had $264,000 banked for his re-election bid.
Mills, an executive in the family-owned Mills Fleet Farm, outraised Nolan during that fundraising quarter and now has $306,000 cash on hand.
Since returning to Congress last year after a three-decade absence, Nolan has expressed disdain for the demands of modern political fundraising. But chasing donations may be necessary if he wants to retain his seat.
In 2012, the contest between Nolan and Republican Chip Cravaack ended up as one of the most expensive House races in the nation, with $16 million in total spending by the candidates and outside interest groups.
With national Republicans targeting Nolan in an effort to reclaim the seat, the Eighth District race could see a similar influx of campaign cash in 2014.
Nolan previously served three terms in the U.S. House, from 1975 to 1981.
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.
National Republicans are homing in on Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s seat in northern Minnesota.
On Thursday, the National Republican Congressional Committee added Nolan’s challenger, Stewart Mills III, to the lowest level of its “Young Guns” program, which lends help to GOP candidates.
Mills was one of 36 House hopefuls named to the “On the Radar” list. If Mills reaches the next step, he would become a “Contender.” The most promising candidates are tagged as “Young Guns.”
As candidates ascend the ranks, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC and other members of Congress. Mills already outraised Nolan by nearly $100,000 during the last fundraising quarter.
The NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans, hopes to bolster GOP prospects in next year's mid-term elections by making the Affordable Care Act their primary campaign issue. In October, the group aired radio ads in Nolan’s Eighth Congressional District, criticizing him for refusing to defund the health care law.
“With ObamaCare’s bad policies and botched rollout affecting families across our nation, and our country diving deeper into debt each and every day, it’s time to bring real change backed by conservative principles and priorities to Washington,” NRCC chairman Greg Walden said in a statement Thursday.
“I am confident that these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and their campaigns as we head into the 2014 election year.”
In a press briefing this week, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel said he is confident Nolan will defend his seat.
The NRCC has also targeted U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the First Congressional District, but none of his potential Republican challengers made the up-and-coming list.
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