Minnesota dodged a census bullet
Maybe Minnesota didn't deserve to keep its eight congressional seats after all. The state barely hung onto all of its seats in the 2010 census, but the Associated Press reported last week that North Carolina has reason to argue it should have been given the 435th and final seat that went to Minnesota.
More than 40,000 troops were deployed from North Carolina's military bases last year, but only 12,200 of them listed North Carolina on the census -- a discrepancy of 28,000 people. Had North Carolina counted about 15,000 more people, it would have taken the final congressional seat away from Minnesota.
The under-count involves a dispute over whether troops should list their home state or the base where they live. Fortunately for Minnesota (and unfortunately for North Carolina), there appears to be no recourse to challenge the census count for congressional seats.
Dayton: Hold off on budget talks
Gov. Mark Dayton said last week he'd prefer to hold off on intense budget negotiations until legislators pass joint conference committee bills. "The House will pass its, the Senate will pass its and then they'll go to conference committee and they'll pass conference reports and then at that point we'll have a legislative budget by the majority and I'll have my budget and then we'll begin the negotiation. ... My hope would be they'd pass the conference committee reports and lay them on the table," Dayton said. "They'll have their budget, I have my budget ... we'll have our differences and then we can begin to negotiate."
That idea could put negotiations weeks away.
The House and Senate are still in the process of passing their budget bills and they have significant differences, even though both bodies are controlled by Republicans.
RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER AND MCKENZIE MARTIN
House members told to make nice
Barely eight hours after adjourning in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, 27 bleary-eyed members of the House were back at it during a committee meeting in which they were trying to move a pair of budget bills to the House floor.
As Ways and Means Committee members Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, and Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, traded accusations that each other had "butchered" their statements, committee Chair Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, pointed out to them, "Most of us in the room had very little sleep and that makes some of us very cranky."
They got the message. As the meeting wound down, Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, told Holberg, "you don't look cranky at all."
BOB VON STERNBERG
Bachmann vs. Obamacare
Rep. Michele Bachmann, pressing her case against the Obama administration's health care overhaul, announced legislation on Wednesday to remove the $105.5 billion in automatic funding that she says was "buried in ObamaCare."
The bill, which has yet to get any traction with Republican leaders in the U.S. House, would give Congress the authority to take back the funding in future years. It also would rescind all existing unobligated balances in the health care bill, a top target for Tea Party groups across the nation.