Photo: KSTP/ Ben Henry.
Photo: KSTP/ Ben Henry.
Updated: September 30, 2020 04:56 PM
Created: September 30, 2020 04:50 PM
Minnesota House Republicans are willing to vote on a bonding bill in the next expected legislative special session.
In an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said he’s notified DFL leaders, whose majority needs Republican votes to pass the public works’ legislation, that House Republicans will no longer tie Gov. Tim Walz’s use of peacetime emergency powers to the bonding bill debate.
Previously, House Republicans voted against bonding bill proposals, saying Walz is using his office’s power excessively.
"We understand the importance of a bonding bill, the investment in our infrastructure across the state, the importance of the jobs that it creates," Daudt told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "If Democrats are serious about passing a bonding bill, there should be one during the October special session."
There is one caveat: Daudt said he’s hoping to pass a bonding bill without adding to the state’s debt. A state planning estimate shows the budget deficit could be $4.7 billion in 2022-23.
Daudt said it doesn’t change the Republicans' position on Walz’s use of executive power, though.
“We still believe the governor is legislating from the executive branch," Daudt said. "We believe that’s wrong."
Meanwhile, House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said the DFL has been waiting on Republicans to take action on a bonding bill for months and they're still waiting for a formal offer.
"DFLers have been working for a bipartisan local jobs and projects bill for months," Hortman stated. "I have had good conversations with Representative Daudt in recent weeks, but I'm awaiting a formal offer from him. While the Minority Leader has expressed interest in negotiating and has shared thoughts, he so far has not made a formal offer that I can respond to.
"We have brought a bonding bill to the House floor twice, and all Democrats in the House have voted for it twice, so the DFL position in support of a strong bonding bill is crystal clear. Once we have a clear, written counter offer from Representative Daudt, we will be happy to either make a counter offer or accept."
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