Minnesota Congressional delegation: Weekly wrap-up

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With its Independence Day recess approaching, Congress ploughed ahead on climate change legislation but remained gridlocked over transportation and continued to fight over health care in so many committees it was hard to keep track. Here is a look at some of the things that the Minnesota delegation was up to.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, defended U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In comments on the Senate floor, Klobuchar said that she was “very positive about her nomination” despite what she called the accusations and “misstatements” that had been made recently.

“Judge Sotomayor knows the constitution, she knows the law, but she also knows America,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar begins speaking at about the 06:03 mark.

Reps. Tim Walz and Keith Ellison, both Democrats, introduced legislation that would change Medicare’s funding model from a fee-for-service to a fee-for-results practice.

The legislation is similar to a measure that Klobuchar recently introduced in the Senate.

“Our patients should be getting the best quality care for their money,” Walz said in a statement. “Yet our current payment system ignores quality and value. It doesn’t reward good quality or punish service providers for poor quality care. I don’t know any other industry that operates like this.”

Ellison added in a statement: “Meaningful health care reform requires fundamental changes in how our country pays for health care and I believe that the nation can learn from Minnesota as we tackle health care reform.”

GOP Rep. John Kline rallied against the climate change legislation, which is expected to pass the House this week.

In his blog, Kline called the measure “a recipe for economic disaster at a time when our economy is reeling.” Kline also complained that the bill, which is now over 1,000 pages, was not given due consideration in its nine committees of jurisdiction.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, in comments on the House floor spoke out against a government-run public option in health care legisaltion, calling it a “government takeover.”

“A government takeover of health care will stifle medical breakthroughs and take away the peace of mind that families around America have, knowing that they can get the timely treatment for their children, their parents and themselves,” Paulsen said. “We need to enact commonsense measures, like allowing small businesses to band together to purchase more affordable coverage for their employees.”

Paulsen begins speaking at about the 01:14 mark.

Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat, privately paid trip to Mecca prompted debate, according to the Star Tribune.

Writing in her blog, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann called the cap-and-trade legislation an “economic time bomb.”

“…[C]ap-and-trade is merely a gigantic tax and huge revenue booster for our federal government to allow them to keep spending and fund more government programs,” Bachmann wrote.

Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, worked his magic on House leaders and reached a compromise on the climate change bill.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Democrat, faced a stalemate with the Senate over his $500 billion transportation reauthorization bill.

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