The Red Wing Republican Eagle reports Sarvi sets his sights on Congress. Sarvi is compared to Walz by DFLers, and today marks his first day as a fulltime candidate. Go over to Steve's site and show him some greenback love. Consider volunteering.
One of the things Steve will need in Washington D.C. is the ability to pinch pennies, since the cost of living is among the highest in the nation. MinnPost's feature Political penny pinchers: Minnesota's congressional delegation tries to cut living expenses takes a look at the situation:
. . .Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Tim Walz and Michele Bachmann say they were blown away by real estate prices in Washington, where one-bedroom apartments start at $250,000 and rent averages at $1,100 a month.. . .
(The cost of living in Mankato is close to the metro average, a union friend who negotiates contracts in both places tell us.)
Certainly, members of Congress make plenty of money. The salary for rank-and-file members is $169,300 this year, and that sum is annually adjusted to match the cost of living in Washington. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau [PDF], the median household income in the United States was $48,201 in 2006.)
Walz returned his raise to the U.S. Treasury
While no member of Minnesota's freshman class is poor — Klobuchar, Ellison and Bachmann all have law degrees, while Walz was a high school teacher — they're not independently wealthy like former Sens. Rudy Boschwitz or Mark Dayton, whose net worth was nearly $4 million in 2003. . . .
. . . The Minnesota delegation has also cultivated their own money saving techniques for living in the city. Like Ellison, Walz moved to an efficiency apartment after sharing a place with another member of Congress that cost as much as his mortgage in Minnesota and provided about a quarter of the space.
"It was a hole in the wall," he said.
Walz's assessment? Typical Tim:
Walz says that all the annoyances that go along with being a member of Congress are "just part of the job."
Speaking of pennies, legislation to change the composition of metals in them is making its way through Congress; the Bush administration isn't happy with the measure. In To coin a phrase, live with it, the Mankato Free Press board gives the administration a thumbs down:
To the U.S. Mint and the Bush administration for yet another attempted executive-branch power grab.
Article 2, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power “to coin Money (and) regulate the value thereof.” Legislation that passed the House Thursday that would change the metallic composition of the penny and nickel — a measure intended to make it cheaper to make those small-denomination coins — is being opposed by the White House in part because it only allows the Treasury Department to suggest a specific composition rather than make the decision on its own.
The measure thus reserves to Congress a power the Constitution allots to Congress. The administration should live with that fact.
Speaking of the Farm Bill, our friend Bruce at the Minnesota Farmers Union (we're a member) sent us a press release praising the legislation:
Minnesota Farmers Union is pleased that the farm bill is moving forward. It has been in the works for 2 years and on the verge of passing for over 7 months. People from Farmers Union, in Minnesota and on the National level, have been fighting for our policies for a long time,” said Doug Peterson , Minnesota Farmers Union President. “It is encouraging that items like Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) implementation, and a funded permanent disaster assistance program, two Farmers Union priorities, are in the bill.”
“This is a great reform bill. It offers balance on conservation and nutrition and reduces direct payments and offers better risk protection for farmers. Real reform was achieved by eliminating the triple entity provision and requiring direct attribution for farm payments.”
“This bill also includes much needed funding for nutrition which was increased by $10.36 billion dollars. President Bush is still threatening a veto on this bill, however I think he would be hard-pressed to veto a reform bill that increases food and nutrition funding for the needy.”
Other Farmers Union policies included in the bill are:
$5 billion funded for a permanent disaster assistance program;
An increase of $10.3 billion for nutrition programs
Assistance to food banks increased by $1.25 billion
$365 million for a fruit and vegetables program;
$1.1 billion for the renewable energy industry;
Creates a loan guarantee program to develop production of dedicated cellulosic energy crops;
Makes COOL implementation mandatory;
Imposes eligibility caps based on the level of farm income;
Increases funding for Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program to protect our natural resources;
$60 million to purchase food overseas to feed people in need;
For the first time there is a Livestock Title that includes non-binding arbitration, interstate shipment of meat, contract reforms and improvement of Packers & Stockyards Act;
Conservation funding increased by $6.6 billion;
7-state pilot program for fruits and vegetables directed at smaller farms and processors; and
Blenders credit for cellulosic ethanol from 51 cents to one dollar per gallon.
“I want to thank both National Farmers Union President Tom Buis and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson for working and fighting so hard for family farmers. I am optimistic that their hard work will pay off and this farm bill gets passed and signed by the President,” said MFU President Doug Peterson .
The farm bill is scheduled to be on the House and Senate floor Wednesday, May 14th. It is not clear whether or not President Bush will sign the bill. More details about the provisions of the bill will be available as it moves through the process.
Minnesota Farmers Union is a membership based organization that works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and rural communities.