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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

Posts about 2nd District

Sen. Franken gets amendments into massive No Child overhaul

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 16, 2015 - 5:14 PM

WASHINGTON -- The  U.S. Senate on Thursday was close to wrapping up its markup of the sprawling bipartisan overhaul to No Child Left Behind that, from most accounts, has inclusions that make both Democrats and Republicans uncomfortable.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken has been in the room all week trying to find accord with Republicans and said on Thursday the measure worried him in some key areas because he wants to keep robust accountability in place.

"I want a bipartisan solution ... and I'm hopeful that we can find common ground to improve the bill when it comes before the full Senate," he said in a statement.

Among amendments included that were authored by Franken: 

-Mental Health In Schools: Allows schools to partner with community organizations to expand access to mental health services for students.

-Principal Training and Recruitment: Improves the preparation, placement and retention of effective principals.

-Accelerated Learning: Seeks to raise student academic achievement and save students and families cash through acclerated learning programs.

-STEM Education: Includes targeted funding for Science Technology Engineering and Math instruction and teacher development. 

On the House side, Republican Rep. John Kline's bill to remake No Child Left Behind is stalled out because it didn't have enough support among Republicans. He said this week he is working on educating members and hopes for a vote soon. 

Rep. John Kline DFL opponent Angie Craig raises $200K in two weeks

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 14, 2015 - 5:07 PM

WASHINGTON -- Angie Craig, one of the two DFL candidates hoping to unseat Rep. John Kline in the Second Congressional District, raised $200,000 in two weeks, her campaign said Tuesday.

Craig, a vice president of a medical device company,told the Star Tribune she was planning to run in January. She didn't file paperwork until April 5, which was the start of the second quarter of this year.

Craig is one of two DFL candidates who have announced a challenge to Kline. Dr. Mary Lawrence, an ophthalmologist, said last week she, too, was seeking the DFL endorsement. Lawrence said she has raised $215,000 and donated another $300,000 to her campaign.

Republican David Gerson has said he plans to challenge Kline on the Republican side.

First quarter fundraising totals will be posted tomorrow.

Democrats target Kline as part of college ad campaign

Posted by: Beena Raghavendran Updated: April 3, 2015 - 5:54 PM

WASHINGTON – National Democrats are targeting GOP Rep. John Kline on his votes before the Easter break to cut Pell Grants to an audience they think will pay attention: College students.

This week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a one-day ad in the University of Minnesota’s student newspaper as part of an ad campaign in college newspapers at 14 universities around the country, pointing out GOP-proposed cuts to the Pell Grants that help lower-income students afford college tuition.

Kline, who chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, is among their targets. “We’re using Congress’ April recess to remind Minnesota students just how out of touch Congressman John Kline is on college affordability,” DCCC spokesman Matt Thornton said in a statement.

The House Budget Committee’s plan would cut $90 billion in Pell Grants between 2016 and 2025. U.S. Sen. Al Franken attempted to restore these cuts during a marathon budget resolution session last week, but his amendment failed.

The Republican budget would freeze Pell Grants for 10 years and target federal aid to those most in need. “It’s unfortunate that Washington Democrats are launching blatantly disingenuous ads targeting college students,” said Zach Hunter, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman.

In the quarter-page ad that ran Thursday in the Minnesota Daily, the newspaper for the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, a cartoon character carried a sack of money with text that read: “Tuition too expensive? Last week, Congressman John Kline voted to make it harder for you to pay for school.” The U’s Twin Cities campus is not in Kline’s district, but some 42,000 college students live in his district, according to the Census. 

Kline joins House Republican delegation trip to Middle East during congressional recess

Posted by: Beena Raghavendran Updated: April 1, 2015 - 4:24 PM

Rising terrorist threats in the Middle East have sparked a House Republican leadership delegation trip to several countries there during the two-week congressional recess — a group that includes U.S. Rep. John Kline.

The trip, led by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will include a meeting with allies in discussions about Iran’s power in the area, according to a statement on Boehner’s website.

Including Kline, fewer than 10 Republican leaders join Boehner on the Middle East trip, including Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. 

So far, the delegation has visited Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel to discuss Iran’s violence and the threat of ISIS. The group started its trip in England on Friday, meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on ISIS priorities in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

The group has met with King Abdullah II and officials to discuss the violence spurred by Iran’s allies. In Iraq, the group met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq Salim al-Jabouri. On Tuesday, the delegation was in Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi Interior Minister Mohammad bin Naif and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. Boehner spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Wednesday.

“Our delegation has spent the last five days throughout the Middle East,” Boehner said during a media availability in Jerusalem. “Regardless of where in the Middle East we’ve been, the message has been the same: You can’t continue to turn your eye away from the threats that face all of us.”

Kline pushes for funding to help Indian schools

Posted by: Beena Raghavendran Updated: March 25, 2015 - 4:53 PM

U.S. Rep. John Kline is asking for an almost $60 million increase in funding to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in as part of a recent push to end many of the unsafe conditions in Bureau of Indian Education schools across the country.

As the chairman for the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Kline’s letter to the Committee on Appropriations requests $133.2 million for education construction in the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the next fiscal year — a $58.7 million increase from Fiscal Year 2015.

In his letter, Kline cites the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School on the Leech Lake Band of the Ojibwe Reservation in northwestern Minnesota as a school that is emblematic of problems in Indian schools across the nation. As described in a four-part Star Tribune opinion series in the fall, the Bug school’s list of grievances include a rodent infestation and a roof that caves during heavy snowfalls.

“The federal government has made a commitment to American Indian students and families to provide educational opportunities in a manner that preserves their culture, language, and traditions,” Kline said in a release. “Unfortunately, we are failing to meet that commitment.”

His push to the appropriations committee is on the heels of a letter he sent last month to the director of the Bureau of Indian Education, asking the bureau what it was doing to address issues surrounding Indian schools.

The Leech Lake Reservation school — known as the Bug school — has seen legislative mentions in recent weeks that point to new waves of efforts to fix it soon. At the end of February, the Committee on Appropriations’ subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies held a hearing to discuss the budget proposal for Indian Affairs and Indian Education, where ranking member U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum cited the Bug school. Part of the $58.7 million increase is $11.9 million “to address major facility repair needs at schools like the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school,” the Interior budget cites in its report.

Kline will hold a hearing next month to take a further look into Indian schools. Prior to the hearing, he will visit the Bug school.