House GOP leader vows to block $2B bonding bill until Walz’s peacetime emergency ends

Minnesota House Republicans say they will not pass a bonding bill until Gov. Tim Walz’s peacetime state of emergency is over.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, released a statement on Saturday urging the governor to work with legislators on a path forward.

"The governor needed his emergency powers to navigate the fast-moving crisis, but after two months of unilateral power and decision-making it’s time for him to work with us on decisions and actions regarding the future of the state," Daudt said in the statement.

According to the Minnesota Constitution, bonding bills must originate in the House and require a three-fifths majority in both chambers of the Legislature. DFLers are six seats short of meeting that threshold in the House, and Republicans hold a majority in the Senate.

Earlier in the year, Walz, a Democrat, had been campaigning to borrow $2 billion to fund projects across the state, which include upgrading water treatment facilities, increasing access to affordable housing and increasing disaster preparedness.

A spokesperson for Gov. Walz issued a statement asking for bipartisan support in passing the bonding bill:

"As he follows the guidance of public health experts, Governor Walz is working with Minnesota lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, a bipartisan group of midwest governors, and the White House to keep Minnesotans safe. The Governor is committed to getting Minnesotans back to work safely, and he’s asked the Legislature to join him by passing a robust Local Jobs and Projects Plan."

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House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, each issued statements expressing their disapproval for Daudt’s plan to block the bonding bill.

Hortman said ending the peacetime emergency prematurely would be "reckless" and that blocking the bill would prevent "much-needed investments in local jobs and projects" from reaching communities.

Winkler said the middle of the COVID-19 crisis is not a time to "play games" with Walz’s emergency powers. He also emphasized the bonding bill’s potential to create jobs in Minnesota at a time when many are out of work.

"Workers need jobs that are safe, and we intend to create as many of them as we can,” Winkler said.