I grew up reading comic books wanting to be a superhero. Comics taught me that those who speak the truth are heroes, all the rest are liars.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Senator Johnson (D-MN) Has Something to Say

To paraphase the below May 9 letter from Senator Johnson to Speaker Sviggum:


It's why you were elected, what you get paid for, and what the voters want...sigh...for a change.
It continues to be my sincere hope we adjourn the 2006 legislativesession ahead of the constitutionally mandated adjournment date of Monday, May 22nd. I trust you share this goal as we agreed in principle that adjournment would be preferred by May 17th. I stand by that commitment. Unfortunately, the actions of the House of Representatives today do not convey that sentiment.

The House received the Senate message regarding the supplemental! funding bill. At that point, you could have appointed conference committee members and the Senate would have responded in kind. The committee could have met as early as tomorrow and finished their work by this weekend. Without a conference committee, it is impossible to reach the necessary compromise. Similarly, the House could have appointed conference committee membersto the Twins/Vikings stadium bill passed by the Senate today.

Again, you chose not to act. If you had, we could have begun work on a compromise as early as tomorrow. By not appointing conference committee members, and adjourning until Thursday, the House is not acting in good faith and has delayed those actions until later this week at the earliest. Chairman Dan Dorman has not called a conference committee on the capital investment bill since Friday, May 5th (four days ago). It is my understanding he awaits a "target" from leadership. Senator Langseth and the Senate members of the conference committee have complete and total authority to negotiate both a target as well asbill content within the public committee. If Chairman Dorman does not have that authority, please let me know. If that is the case, perhaps the person(s) who have the authority should chair the committee or meet with the Senate members in Representative Dorman's place.

I fully expect you to ratchet up your tired political rhetoric overthe next few days and disingenuously state that the Senate is once again being "obstructionist". As always, nothing could be further fromthe truth. Personally, I believe actions speak louder than words. Your actions today do not show you seek immediate progress. Let me be clear. The Senate leadership is uninterested in meeting behind closed doors to "cut a deal." Our work will be done withinthe legislative process, by our bipartisan conference committee members, and in full public view.

With only thirteen days before the constitutional deadline, I hope the members of the House of Representatives have a change of heart and move forward publicly on these important matters. Again, it is my sincere hope that we finish our work ahead of the deadline. I believe if all parties negotiate in good faith and inpublic, these matters can be compromised upon in quick fashion.

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