WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's ten members of Congress on Tuesday collectively asked for a meeting with VA Secretary Robert McDonald to talk about recent reports of falsified records at Minneapolis's VA hospital.
The request comes after VA records showed a neurology exam for 25-year-old Jordan Buisman was rescheduled four days after his death. The former corporal had been told he'd have to wait almost 70 days to see a specialist at the Minneapolis VA neurology clinic for his epilepsy, which was the reason he left the Marine Corps. He died 24 days before his appointment.
Four days later, someone wrote in his VA records that Buisman had canceled his neurology appointment. The story was first reported by KARE TV.
The VA Inspector General's office is currently investigating allegations of falsified records and manipulation with scheduling data. The delegation, Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tim Walz, John Kline, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Erik Paulsen, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan and Michele Bachmann, requested a meeting with Secretary McDonald once the findings are released by the IG.
"We are deeply troubled by serious allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs VA Health Care System," the delegation wrote.
VA Secretary McDonald, who was just sworn in a couple months ago, said over the weekend in a speech in Cincinnati that, "we know we have to work harder to earn that trust back one veteran at a time."
Retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has taken more privately financed trips in 2014 than any other member of Congress.
The Minnesota lawmaker's six trips include a visit to Haiti in August through the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
The total cost of trips by members of Congress and their aides during August reached $766,000, according to LegiStorm. The nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group found that member trip cost $2 million last August.
That’s because lawmakers often scale back travel during election years, choosing to focus their attention on the campaign trail. With her plans to leave Congress at the end of the year and no re-election on the horizon, Bachmann has opted to hit the road more often.
Since January, Bachmann has also traveled to: a Heritage Foundation event in Richmond, Va., in February; England’s Oxford Union Society in March; an event hosted by the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation in Dallas in March; Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Ok., in May; and the Western Conservative Summit in Denver in July, congressional records show.
During her first seven years in the U.S. House, Bachmann took 23 privately financed trips, for an average of slightly more than three per year.
A version of this item appeared in Morning Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.
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.