The Potluck

About that House GOP filibuster

By: - June 18, 2021 12:56 pm

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.

This is ripped from Daily Reformer, your best place for Minnesota politics, policy and the hottest of hot takes. Sign up here.

Into late Thursday night, Minnesota House Republicans held up a commerce and energy budget bill, At 11:41 p.m., Session Daily reports, the House voted to table the bill. Higher education, agriculture and Legacy also laid on the table. 

What on earth is the point? 

A House GOP spokesman told me: “The tools at our disposal are the bonding bill and the clock and we’re going to use both of them.” 

The “bonding bill” is Capitol-ese for a public works bill that uses borrowing and thus requires a supermajority and thus Republican votes. As for the clock, it’s ticking toward June 30, after which the government shuts down. 

The House GOP says Thursday’s spectacle isn’t actually holding up anything because even if they had passed all those bills off the floor, the DFL doesn’t have other bills ready to pass today. 

Even just allowing House Republicans access to the “working groups” where the bills are being negotiated would win some goodwill, they say. 

Here’s a bit from an AP story: 

An angry House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, of Crown blamed Democrats for disregarding GOP concerns while a narrow group of committee chairs worked out the details in private, and he vowed to vet all of the bills thoroughly on the floor. “If you don’t think that members of this chamber in this party are willing to stand here and fight for the Minnesotans that you are trying to hurt, you are dead wrong,” Daudt said in an opening speech that lasted over an hour. “Because the battle that we fight here on this floor today is a worthy one.”

(I’ve seen Daudt “angry” like this. There’s some theater.) Here’s Rep. Mike Howard, DFL-Richfield, responding on Twitter this morning, citing a worker in his district who got a layoff notice due a potential government shutdown. 

Rest assured, we are not deterred. We will meet our constitutional duty to pass a state budget. But with just a moderate amount of decency from House Republicans this process wouldn’t have to be so painful for Minnesotans who just want us to quit the BS and get our job done.

But insofar as the delay tactics win Republicans any leverage, what are they after? They want reinsurance, the program whereby the state pays the most expensive health insurance claims, which has stabilized the individual insurance market since it was passed in 2017 but is also a gift to insurance companies.  

They want an end to Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers. An end to the extra money people are getting if they are on unemployment. Legislative control over further federal relief payments. And a bill of technical fixes needed to clean up last year’s big bonding bill. 

In a way we are getting a preview of what Republican control of the House would look like in 2023: Subsidy for big business, fierce opposition to Walz (if he’s reelected), and cuts to safety net programs.

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J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and toddler son.

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