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, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

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Rep. Keith Ellison the lone Minnesota vote against tax extenders

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: December 3, 2014 - 5:43 PM

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Keith Ellison was the only Minnesota House member Wednesday to vote against extending for one year more than 50 expired tax credits for special interests, individuals and businesses.

The tax-extenders package, which gives breaks for 2014, costs $44 billion a year and isn't "paid for" which means it contributes to the national debt. It includes a range of boons for both liberals and conservatives including tax breaks for state and local sales taxes paid and breaks for renewable fuels, wind production and medical research. The measure overwhelmingly passed the House Wednesday and heads to the Senate for a vote next week.

Ellison, a Democrat from Minneapolis, said in a statement Wednesday night he voted against it because it helps corporate America more than working America.

"The bill passed today does little for working families, but lots for corporations already booking big profits," he said.

Bachmann urges Congress to defund Obama's immigration action

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: December 3, 2014 - 12:38 PM

WASHINGTON -- Calling President Barack Obama "lawless," Rep. Michele Bachmann said Wednesday that he had forgotten the voters' mandate a month ago and urged her colleagues to support a spending bill that would defund the implementation of his executive action on immigration reform.

"I want to know, have members of this body in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate forgotten the message that the American people loud and clear and unmistakably on Nov. 4?" Bachmann said. "Secure our borders, keep our families safe, uphold the laws of the land ... We stand in solidarity with the American worker and the American people and we are going to uphold ... the laws of the land."

The retiring congresswoman from the Sixth Congressional District shared a microphone outside the Capitol Wednesday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, among others. The gatherings had the trappings of a small Tea Party rally, with several people dressed in period clothing and carrying "Don't Tread on Me" flags.

Bachmann's message arrives at a time House and Senate leaders are trying to hammer out a plan to fund the federal government through next September. Senate Democrats are hoping for a "clean" spending bill that doesn't defund any aspect of the federal government, which technically runs out of money Dec. 11. GOP House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week indicated support for a clean bill, as well, but he vowed they would take a closer look at the president's executive action on immigration next year.

Cruz urged Congress to use its "power of the purse" to defund the president's plan. Several people stood by and yelled "monarchy!" in chorus and said they think Obama has overstepped his bounds. 

Rep. Bachmann goes to border to hear "firsthand" from agents about immigration proposal

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: November 21, 2014 - 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON -- In her final few weeks in office, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann squeezed in a trip to the Mexican/American frontier Friday, a day after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping executive order that will protect millions of people from deportation.

Obama traveled to Las Vegas Friday to promote his order at a high school. Bachmann opposes the order, which she called amnesty that flouts the Constitution. She is traveling with Republican Rep. Steve King, of Iowa.

“While President Obama travels to Las Vegas to give another speech about his executive amnesty plan, I want to hear firsthand from those tasked with patrolling the border about their thoughts on the impact of the president’s actions," Bachmann said, in a statement. "We need to secure the border, stand up for American workers, and follow the Constitution—and the President’s unilateral decree undermines them all.”

The outgoing congresswoman sparked controversy this week in comments she made to the Washington Post calling immigrants "unskilled" and "illiterate". Bachmann tweeted out a link of the story and called it a "perfect example of the media sensationalizing a headline and creating a false perception."

*Will update with photos from the Bachmann/King trip as soon as they're made available by the congresswoman's office.*

Walz fails on VA leadership bid, remains on committee

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: November 19, 2014 - 8:55 PM
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Rep. Tim Walz didn't make highest ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday despite high-profile endorsements from the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans for America and other veterans.
 
He lost out to someone more senior than Walz, Florida Rep. Corinne Brown, who has served on the VA committee for 22 years and will be the first African-American to serve in the post. Walz has been on the committee since 2007.
 
In a statement, Walz called the results disappointing and wished Brown well. "This has always been about doing all I can to advocate for and serve veterans and their families. I will continue to that," he said.
 
Brown had the endorsement of Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Walz, a veteran himself with the Army National Guard, stressed service and experience in solving what he called a crisis within the Veterans Administration.
 
Walz will remain on the committee in the new Congress in January.

Minneapolis pastor launches her own anti-Keystone pipeline effort to Sen. Klobuchar's office

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: November 18, 2014 - 5:46 PM

WASHINGTON -- Senior pastor the Rev. Sarah Campbell was at home Monday on her day off in Minneapolis when she got a call from the American Petroleum Institute asking her to participate in a survey about whether she supported the Keystone pipeline.

The question struck Campbell as funny since, just the day before, she told her parishoners at the Mayflower Church to urge their federal elected representatives to vote against the pipeline, which will carry crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

On the phone, Campbell told the surveyor, "I'm absolutely against it. We need to keep it in the ground," she said, but then decided she was curious where the call would take her if she answered another way. "And then I said, 'just a minute, maybe I'm in favor of it'. And she said, 'Ok, let me put you through to Sen. Klobuchar's office.'"

Klobuchar's office received more than 600 calls in the last two days from people both supporting and asking her to vote against the pipeline. The measure was handily passed by the House last week, with three Minnesota Democrats supporting it.

Campbell, who is against the pipeline because of her concern of climate change,helped organize her own call-a-thon to Klobuchar's office. They had about 25 members of the 750-strong church call the office in Minnesota. Another faith-based organization called the Interfaith Power and Light sent an additional 75 faxes.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, the Keystone measure failed by one vote. Both Klobuchar and Franken voted against it.

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