The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 8, 2013

Immigration, student loan top congressional agenda

WASHINGTON — Republicans and Democrats will put good will to the test when Congress returns this week to potentially incendiary fights over nominations, unresolved disputes over student loans and the farm bill, and the uncertainty of whether lawmakers have the political will to rewrite the nation's immigration laws.

The cooperation evident in the Senate last month with passage of a bipartisan immigration bill could be wiped out immediately if Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., frustrated with GOP delaying tactics on judges and nominations, tries to change the Senate rules by scrapping the current three-fifths majority for a simple majority.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has indicated it's a decision Reid could regret if the GOP seizes Senate control in next year's elections.

"Once the Senate definitively breaks the rules to change the rules, the pressure to respond in kind will be irresistible to future majorities," McConnell said last month, looking ahead to 2014 when Democrats have to defend 21 seats to the GOP's 14.

McConnell envisioned a long list of reversals from the Democratic agenda, from repealing President Barack Obama's health care law to shipping radioactive nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain in Reid's home state of Nevada.

Recently elected Democrats have clamored for changes in Senate rules as Obama has faced Republican resistance to his nominations.

Two Cabinet-rank choices — Tom Perez as labor secretary and Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency — could be approved by the Senate this month after a loud debate over administration policies.

The GOP also has challenged Obama's three judicial nominees to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as they've tried to eliminate the vacancies.

Reid had served notice in April that the Democratic majority could change the Senate rules on "any given day," and he was willing to do so if necessary.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • 9 TC Rainbow stores to close Supermarkets to lose in Cottage Grove, Shoreview, Inver Grove Heights, Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Coon Rapids, Maple Grove and Savage

    July 21, 2014

  • Accelerants fuel fire; 2 rescued ST. PAUL — Two brothers were rescued from the upper floor of a St. Paul duplex in a fire that was fueled by cylinders of gas, oxygen and other accelerants. Authorities say the two were taken to Regions Hospital where one man is in critical condition

    July 21, 2014

  • Monticello doctor dies in cycle crash Patients among those mourning Dr. Eric Lefebvre's death

    July 21, 2014

  • Precautions urged for excessive heat, humidity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Health officials are urging Minnesotans to take precautions in dealing with high temperatures and humidity. The National Weather Service says the humidity will make temperatures feel like 100 to 110 degrees Monday across much of M

    July 21, 2014

  • NASA names building for moonwalker Neil Armstrong NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon when the Apollo 11 mission landed there 45 years

    July 21, 2014

  • Minnesota man loses relatives in airliner crash Drew Ryder of Willmar says victims included his brother, sister-in-law

    July 21, 2014

  • Shark sightings off Cape Cod a boon for tourism CHATHAM, Mass. (AP) — In "Jaws," the fictional mayor tried to protect the summer tourism season by keeping a lid on reports of the man-eater lurking offshore. As sightings of great white sharks mount off Cape Cod in real life, however, businesses in

    July 21, 2014

  • Dutch anger swells at treatment of Ukraine bodies THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — It is no longer only grief and mourning sweeping across the Netherlands in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. It is now anger. The Dutch have widely condemned the way the bodies of loved ones h

    July 21, 2014

  • Diplomacy intensifies amid mounting Gaza toll GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state headed to Cairo on Monday for the highest-level attempt yet to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting that has killed at least 510 Palestinians and 20 Israelis and driven ten

    July 21, 2014

  • Actor James Garner dead at age 86 Veteran film and television actor James Garner died of natural causes Saturday at the age of 86.

    July 20, 2014