Weekly wrap-up: Minnesota’s congressional delegation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here’s a look at what Minnesota’s delegation was up to in a week where health-care reform discussions eclipsed almost everything else.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stood up for the U.S. Census after fellow Minnesota lawmaker Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., criticized the personal nature of some of the questions and encouraged people to boycott it.

“The Census has a profound impact on Minnesota’s communities,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “It’s important that every Minnesotan is counted, so we get our fair share of congressional seats and federal funding.”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., saw his first piece of legislation pass the Senate less than a month after being confirmed as Minnesota’s second U.S. senator. The bill establishes a pilot program to pair disabled veterans with service dogs.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., concluded that timing isn’t everything on health care. Walz told the Mankato Free Press this week that he is less anxious about getting a bill passed before the August recess and more concerned that Congress gets the details right.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., continued to say that the Democrat’s health care plan raises “enormous” concerns. In a hearing this week, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a look at the rationing that has occurred in countries with government-run health systems.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., emphasized that job creation should be the “number one” priority of Congress and the administration. In a speech from the House floor this week, Paulsen pointed to the increasing unemployment rate as evidence that the government wasn’t doing enough to spur growth.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., led the charge on Medicare payment reform in the House.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., introduced a corporate-governance reform bill for public companies that would require the chairman of the board of directors to be independent and would give investors a say on executive compensation.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., called for more transparency at the Federal Reserve. “…[T]he public deserves to know more about the Fed’s balance sheet so it can gain an accurate understanding of these lending facilities, how they operate, how they are financed, and how each investment is managed,” Bachmann said in a statement at a House Financial Services hearing this week.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., threatened to lead a movement to stop a food safety bill in the House if provisions giving the Food and Drug Administration new powers over livestock operations and grain farms are not removed.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., testified before the House Ways and Means Committee this week in defense of his massive transportation overhaul bill. 

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