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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Minn. Republicans disheartened of leadership shake up

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's Republicans said they were disheartened at the reigning chaos at the top of their caucus in the massive leadership shake up Thursday, but that they were optimistic the right leader would emerge within a few weeks.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy abruptly dropped out of the race to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday.

Rep. Tom Emmer, a freshman Republican representing the Sixth Congressional District, compared voters' uncertainty about GOP leadership to stockholders nervous about changes at the top of a company.

"You have your voters, your consitutents, people looking for leadership. The more they see this lack of a focus and a direction, it's just like a business, shareholders and investers, get very nervous when business is like that," he said  "They want strong leadership. They want a plan. I think that's what everyone's demanding on the outside and right now this type of thing doesn't help that."

GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is a close friend of McCarthy and called the shake up disappointing.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing to panic about. We still have a speaker, we still have a leader and we have some big stuff to do in the next few weeks and months ahead," Paulsen said. "It will sort itself out."

Republican Rep. John Kline didn't answer requests for comments or interviews off the House floor Thursday.

But his spokesman Troy Young said in an e-mailed statement, "Congressman Kline is confident House Republicans will select someone who can do what's best for our country and this institution." 

Emmer declined to say whether he supported the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for speaker and went into the vote undecided on Thursday. He said he was shocked when McCarthy announced he wasn't running.

"I think it would be easy to slide, to say, this is terrible this is awful, the sky is falling, but that doesn't solve anything," Emmer said.

Emmer joked that a constituent asked him why he doesn't run for speaker -- even though he's only been on Capitol Hill for ten months.

"Clearly this is someone who must not like me very much," he said, laughing..

Sen. Franken calls out Republicans for trying to block net neutrality

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday said he will reach out to his vast network of net neutrality supporters to apply pressure on Republicans after they added a provision in this next year's budget that guts new net neutrality rules.

The Republican measure, inserted into the budget over the summer, would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing net neutrality rules until Internet service providers deplete all legal challenges with the commission.

Franken noted in a press call with Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey that four million people weighed in in favor of net neutrality to the FCC.

"I guess we've got to appeal to people again," Franken said. "These businesses, like Ford, like Bank Of America, they don't want this either. The only people who really benefit for this are ISPs (Internet service providers). I'm not sure my Republican colleagues totally understand the issue of net neutrality."

Franken has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality, which essentially promises that all Internet traffic and speeds are treated equally.

The FCC, in February, called for regulating the Internet like a utility, which prevents the large providers like Comcast and Verizon from setting various prices for Internet lines, depending on the users and hosts

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