Today is March 4, the day when Donald Trump takes his rightful place as president again. I’m kidding, but the U.S. Capitol is on alert for another attack and the House canceled their session today. The QAnon people think March 4, which was once inauguration day until the 20th Amendment was ratified in 1933, is supposed to have some kind of cosmic significance, like a doomsday cult.
The commanding general of the Washington, DC, National Guard testified Wednesday that he did not need authorization from Pentagon leaders before deploying troops in response to protests at the nation's capital last summer but that changed in the days before the January 6 insurrection.
Recall the personnel shakeup at the Pentagon after the election, with Trump toadies installed after the swift firing of Mark Esper after the election.
I wrote a column that begins with one of my earliest Minnesota journalism wake up calls, when then-Gov. Mark Dayton wanted to call a special session of the Legislature to help the resorts on Mille Lacs because of the dearth of walleye. There was the culture shock, but also getting used to the idea that whenever anything bad befalls a Minnesota community, the rest of the state comes into help. Except for the businesses destroyed by looting and arson after George Floyd’s death.
From our D.C. bureau, GOP opposition remains to state and local aid in the COVID-19 relief bill, but seems Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is leaning yes if they give enough. Also, the latest iteration moves the income ceiling down so that couples earning more than $160,000 and individuals making more than $80,000 will be cut out of stimulus checks. Which means 12 million American adults who got checks from Trump won’t get them from Biden.
And a sweeping voting rights package passed the U.S. House. Tough road in the Senate.
Buried in this MoJo piece is news that our very own Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chief Senate sponsor of the bill, is willing to nuke the filibuster over it. Go Klobo!
Pam Dowell is a new contributor from up north and writes a dispatch about what it’s like when your community gets pulled into Trump’s orbit.
Hey boss: You’rrrre great!
The Minnesota Department of Commerce tweets:
TODAY: @CDCgov ranks Minnesota 3rd among states for the percentage of doses received that have been administered. Thank you to @GovTimWalz and @LtGovFlanagan for getting vaccines into the arms of Minnesotans quickly and equitably. #StaySafeMN
Sucking up to the boss is a bad look, especially on the taxpayer's dime.
Republicans for pot
A GOP source notes quiet GOP support in the Minnesota House for marijuana legalization. A committee vote yesterday including yes votes from two of them.
Does House GOP support and an overwhelming pass prod Senate Republicans to allow a vote? I suspect not. Especially given as long as pot remains illegal, the DFL will have to contend with the two pot parties pulling votes from them. This was immensely helpful to the GOP in the 2020 election. This Republican is not happy winning this way: “If you need that to win then you don’t have a lot of support for your agenda.”
More 2022 GOP speculation
Two separate GOP sources add another name to the mix for governor in 2022: Rep. Barb Haley, R-Red Wing. She’s won high marks at the Legislature. A University of St. Thomas grad, she’s had a business career (AT&T) and experience with nonprofits. Haley is said to be also intrigued by a potential run against U.S. Rep. Angie Craig. Important to see what the district looks like after redistricting.
Still and all, a Republican laments: “I can’t believe how weak the field is.” Ouch.
Let’s go home and party
A lobbyist tells me the consensus emerging is that everyone just wants to get the budget done and go home. It’s a terrible way to do session. Everyone is raw and uneasy, and it’s just best to pass a budget. Given the way the SAFE Account bill went down on the floor a couple weeks ago, it’s good to wonder if the House DFL can pull it together. This source says House Speaker Melissa Hortman can do it: “She can go to the factions in her caucus — and there are several — and explain the deal. This is the deal we need to do to get to 2022. We cannot crash the plane in 2021.”
Let’s all hope so. Because we’re all gonna have shots in our arms by the end of May and I do not want to be asking our reporters to cover some unnecessary special session this summer.
Cuz this song gonna be playin’ a lot.
What will be your summer 2021 party song? email@example.com
From the longform archives, this looks pretty cool: John Jeremiah Sullivan goes in search of Bunny Wailer, the last of the legendary reggae group that included Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.
This 1967 IBM ad made by Jim Henson is sinister, brilliant and drenched in LSD, if you ask me.
Have a great day all! JPC