WASHINGTON -- It's not often that Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan join together to support the same amendment.
On Thursday, an odd blend of bedfellows voted against a $5 billion measure to arm Syrian rebels in the fight to combat the terror group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which passed 273 to 156.
Bachmann, Nolan and Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum voted against the proposal. Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Keith Ellison joined Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen in support.
Bachmann tweeted after the vote: "Many of the so-called "moderate" rebels have already joined the cause of Islamic jihad. Concerned U.S. weapons could fall into enemy hands."
"Remember, last year at this time we were ready to attack (Syrian President) al-Assad and Syria. Now we appear in a tacit alliance with Assad and his allies to defeat ISIL," he said. "Today we appear ready to send $5 billion to the FSA ... The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result."
Paulsen said, in a statement, he supported the measure with reservations.
"I remain concerned about the administration's ability to effectively and appropriately vet Syrian opposition forces to ensure we are training groups aligned with our interest in defeating ISIL," he said, noting he found it "necessary to provide the president with this limited and short-term authority."
McCollum, in a statement, called the debate "rushed."
"The CIA is already training and arming Syrian fighters in Jordan, without congressional approval. How well has that worked? We are not discussing that as a body," she said.
The Senate takes this up Thursday. Sen. Al Franken in an interview on Wednesday said he had concerns about arming Syria and was still undecided.
Sarah Palin is calling on conservatives to help send Republican Tom Emmer to Congress to “put career politicians in the penalty box.”
In a Facebook post packed with hockey references, Palin wrote: “This former hockey player, coach, and current hockey dad won’t have any patience for their ‘gross misconduct.’”
Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, is widely respected by conservative activists. But Emmer likely won’t need much outside help to win the race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The Sixth Congressional District is the most Republican-leaning seat in the state and Emmer, a former state representative and conservative radio talk show host from Delano, is a heavy favorite to defeat Democrat Joe Perske in November.
Palin also backed Emmer's 2010 bid for governor and waded into Minnesota politics earlier this year when she endorsed Republican Julianne Ortman in the U.S. Senate race. Ortman ultimately lost the party endorsement to businessman Mike McFadden.
WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Tuesday he favored a proposal introduced this week in the House that revokes passport and re-entry privileges for American citizens who fight overseas for Islamic militants.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann Monday.
Bachmann's bill, dubbed the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, amends existing laws and rescinds re-entry privileges for people who join terrorist armies overseas. A companion measure was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Cruz that goes a step further and allows the U.S. government to strip citizenship of any person joining military forces with countries at war with the United States.
McFadden's spokesman said he thinks Cruz's bill could be unconstitutional based on previous Supreme Court rulings on citizenship revocation.
McFadden said in a statement Tuesday: "It is necessary that we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from occurring and to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home."
McFadden is hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Expecting a Franken response to the legislation in the next couple hours.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that Americans who join, support or fight with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant should lose their U.S. citizenship, and touted her legislation that would bar anyone who does so from returning to the country.
On Monday, Bachmann introduced her “Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act.” Upward of 100 Americans are believed to be fighting with ISIL. Federal authorities say at least a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota are among those who have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East.
“The FBI … told me yes, there are Minnesotans that are in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. I asked them … if these individuals want to come back to the United States, they have U.S. passports, would be allowed to do so,” Bachmann told Van Susteren. “I was blown away when the FBI told me they could come back into the United States … as many of them have.”
Islamic State's advances and reports of brutality, including the videotaped beheading of two U.S. journalists, have ramped up pressure on Congress to support efforts against the militant group.
Bachmann’s measure would amend existing U.S. law to make becoming a member of, fighting for, or providing material assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization the equivalent of renouncing U.S. citizenship. The bill is similar to legislation that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is advocating for in the upper chamber.
The House Intelligence Committee, of which Bachmann is a member, met Monday to discuss ISIL and other international threats.
Piggybacking on Bachmann's bill, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also called for strict penalties for Americans going abroad to fight with ISIL and like-minded groups.
"It is necessary ... to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home," McFadden said in a statement.
According to Federal Election Commission data, Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District race has attracted the most money from outside groups so far.
The contest between Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Republican Stewart Mills has already seen nearly $1.4 million in PAC spending, with much of it coming from Nolan supporters, such as the House Majority Fund and the AFSCME union.
In contrast, the race for the Seventh Congressional District seat, which Republican Torrey Westrom hopes to snatch from longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, has only seen $245,000 in independent expenditures. Interestingly, the last filing documenting outside spending in that race was from eight months ago.
Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, so far, has drawn relatively little interest from independent spenders. According to FEC filings, outside groups have spent about $140,000 to weigh in on the battle between Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Mike McFadden.
The FEC calculations only include expenditures that represent, "spending by individual people, groups, political committees, corporations or unions expressly advocating the election or defeat of clearly identified federal candidates."
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