Bachmann and Dayton caught in a sparring match today

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

Republican 6th Congressional District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann today (Monday, Jan. 24) called on Gov. Mark Dayton to rescind a recently signed executive order opting the state into early federal Medicaid expansion.

But Democrat Dayton styled the Republican morning press conference as an exercise in presidential politics.

Bachmann — other Republicans attending including state representatives Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake, Bruce Anderson of Buffalo Township, state senator Warren Limmer of Maple Grove — called Dayton’s signing of the executive order, something he repeatedly promised to do during his campaign, an “extreme” move his part.

Dayton’s a good man, said Bachmann.

“We’re not saying he’s a bad individual. We simply think he’s wrong about the prescription for where Minnesota needs to go,” said Bachmann.

95,000 more onto the welfare rolls
Bachmann, who heralded the Republican-controlled U.S. House vote last week to repeal the recent federal health care bill, or so-called “ObamaCare,” argued that Dayton’s action would add some 95,000 Minnesotans onto the welfare rolls.

This at a time when the state, like the federal government, is beset by budget deficit, Bachmann explained.

“We’re calling on Governor Dayton to withdraw his executive order,” she said.

Bachmann suggested funding to cover the cost of the recently passed federal health care bill may not be forthcoming from the Congress.

Other Republicans, too, called for the governor to rethink his action.

Rep. Bruce Anderson, R-Buffalo Township, said voters had sent a message last election in putting Republicans in control of the Minnesota House and Senate.

“‘We’re tired of spending money we don’t have,’” he said he heard voters saying.

Legality of Dayton action is questioned
Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairman of the Senate judiciary and public safety committee, questioned the legality of Dayton’s action.

Limmer argued the origins of the executive order stemmed from a budget agreement made between former Republican governor Tim Pawlenty and then DFL-controlled Minnesota Legislature.

One Legislature cannot bind the hands of future Legislatures, he argued. And that’s what happened, Limmer explained. Beyond this, Limmer argued the budget implications of the executive order required actions by the current Legislature.

Dayton sees things differently
But Dayton saw things differently, speaking at another morning press conference. “I think it’s very unfortunate when a Minnesota politician is playing presidential politics with the lives of citizens of our state,” said Dayton.

“Other than presidential politics, I don’t for the life of me see why this should be something people would need to question,” he said.

But Bachmann argued a private sector approach to providing health care was superior to “ObamaCare.” “We can do so much better than that,” she said.

“We may need to take extraordinary actions together in order to see this happen in the next two years,” Bachmann said of reversing Dayton’s actions.

Lawsuits might be filed
Republicans suggested lawsuits might be filed regarding the early Medicaid opt-in — Limmer indicated he was not considering such a step at this time.

Although Bachmann depicted Dayton’s executive order as adding 95,000 people to the welfare roles, most of the people affected immediately by early enrollment are already on state health care programs.

Bachmann is nationally seen as currently testing the waters for a possible presidential run.

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