With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

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Pelosi highlights Democratic agenda during Minneapolis visit

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: June 27, 2014 - 3:16 PM

While President Obama touted a middle class-centric economic agenda at Lake Harriet, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a few miles away focusing on voters that Democrats see as pivotal to their political success: women. 

Pelosi, the former U.S. House speaker from San Francisco, participated in a discussion that's part of an economic agenda being promoted by House Democrats that they've dubbed "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds." It includes three principle policy goals: fair pay, paid leave and affordable child care options. 

"What is the best thing we can do to grow our economy? Unleash the power of women in our economy," Pelosi told a group of about four dozen invited guests at Temple Israel in Minneapolis. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison joined Pelosi for the discussion, which also included several women who shared stories of challenges in the workforce.

House Democrats have held around 70 such sessions in recent months, with Pelosi participating in nearly 30 of them. 

Both Obama and Pelosi attended a Thursday night fundraiser in Minneapolis for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which defends Democratic-held seats in the U.S. House and funds candidates trying to unseat Republicans. 

Asked about U.S. House races in Minnesota this year, Pelosi said the top priority was holding on to seats of three Democratic incumbents in greater Minnesota: Rick Nolan in northeastern Minnesota, Collin Peterson in western Minnesota and Tim Walz in southern Minnesota. Ellison and Rep. Betty McCollum represent Minneapolis- and St. Paul-based districts with high numbers of Democrats. 

Tyler Q. Houlton, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi is "right to be worried about Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson's re-election chances in November. No amount of Pelosi's money will erase their long voting records." 

The economic agenda laid out by Pelosi and Ellison is similar to a package of new laws that Minnesota legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton passed into law earlier this year. That package, called the "Women's Economic Security Act," included law changes meant to shrink pay differentials between men and women, and other changes intended to increase womens' earning power. 

Pelosi praised the Minnesota effort, which becomes law next week, and said it should be a model for the Congress. 

Kline, Bachmann applaud Supreme Court ruling on presidential recess appointments

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: June 26, 2014 - 11:34 AM

Republican U.S. Reps. John Kline and Michele Bachmann are cheering a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a blow to the powers of the presidency.

The justices ruled unanimously Thursday that President Obama violated the Constitution when he circumvented the Senate to make appointments to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012.

“The president’s unprecedented action was one of many intended to further his own partisan agenda by circumventing the Constitution and side-stepping Congress,” said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

“Thankfully the Supreme Court has helped rein in his abuse of power and restored some checks and balances to our system of government.”

Bachmann used her Twitter account to blast out this message to her 220,000 followers: “The Supreme Court upheld limits on executive power today. Finally someone said no to President Obama’s freewheeling unconstitutional style.”

To the dismay of Republicans, Obama invoked a constitutional provision that granted him the power to make temporary appointments when the Senate is in recess.

The Supreme Court ruled the Senate was not in a formal recess when Obama acted.

“Now the board will have to begin the process of reconsidering hundreds of decisions issued by the unconstitutionally appointed members,” Kline said. “The men and women who were thrown in limbo by the president’s unconstitutional overreach have waited long enough for the justice they deserve.”

Democratic Sens. Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar to ride out with Obama on Air Force One Thursday

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: June 25, 2014 - 4:44 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will ride out with President Barack Obama Thursday to  Minneapolis and attend events with him both days, staffers confirmed Wednesday.

Both Franken and Klobuchar say they want to talk to the president on the plane about the recent flooding in Minnesota.

Klobuchar will speak at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Friday, where Obama is scheduled to make a speech on the economy.

Neither office was able to confirm attendance Tuesday because the Senate voting schedule was still in flux.

Other confirmed Democrats from the Congressional delegation attending at least some of the events with Obama: Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison. Rep. Collin Peterson will not go to any of them.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton was enthusiastic about the visit earlier in the week, telling the Strib: "I would be glad to appear with President Obama," he said. "I would want to appear with any president of any political party."

Bachmann, Fox News host spar over GOP plans to sue Obama

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: June 25, 2014 - 4:45 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and Fox News host Neil Cavuto tangled Wednesday during a debate on the House GOP plans to sue President Obama, alleging that he's failed to carry out laws passed by Congress.

Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the Republican-led House will vote next month on legislation authorizing a lawsuit.

“Has the president overreached with his power? Absolutely he has,” Bachmann said. “The Constitution is a stop sign for the president … You can’t do anything you want.”

Cavuto called the proposed vote and lawsuit an “enormous waste of effort.”

Later in the five-minute interview, Bachmann suggested Republicans vote to defund the executive branch.

“Make it hurt,” she said. “If they don’t have money, they don’t have power.”

In response, Cavuto accused Bachmann of “being silly.”

“I think you know in your heart of hearts this is a waste of time now. There are far more important things you guys have to be addressing than filing lawsuits past each other,” Cavuto said. “Think about what you are saying. The Democrats would be in their right mind to laugh you out.”

'Purple Rain' celebrated...by members of Congress

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:09 PM

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison took out his guitar and took to Twitter to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Minnesotan Prince's iconic 'Purple Rain' album.

"Can't believe it's been thirty years since #PurpleRain," the Minneapolis Democrat tweeted Wednesday morning to his nearly 55,000 followers. He also posted this video:

New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley felt the need to respond in kind:


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