Last night’s vote to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling divided Michigan’s Republican congress.
The legislation reopens the government through Jan. 15th and permits the U.S. Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7th or perhaps a month longer.
Congress faced a midnight deadline Thursday. That's when U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.
Democratic Senator Carl Levin says House Republican leaders bowing to the Tea Party is the reason for the federal government shutdown.
Levin accuses the Tea Party of doing what the 9/11 terrorists could not: shut down the federal government.
“We weren’t shutdown on 9/11. We kept going. There was a physical attack on us,” Levin told reporters on a conference call today, “Now you got people who are doing an economic attack on us, saying they will not allow this government to function unless they get their way on a particular issue.”
The co-hosts of It’s Just Politics were hanging out with lots of Republicans this weekend - around 1,500, in case you were wondering.
Rick Pluta, Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and our own political junkie here at Michigan Radio, Zoe Clark joined us today to talk about what they learned at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference that took place over the weekend.
MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder all but declared his re-election campaign Friday, telling Republicans they can be proud of his record even as he defended signing a key component of the federal health care law unpopular with his own party's base.
"We're going to keep going and we're going to reinvent our state," Snyder said to loud applause.
A Michigan State University professor has been pulled from the classroom, after a conservative group posted a video online that showed William Penn delivering an anti-Republican rant during a class.
Here's that video:
Penn teaches creative writing at MSU, or at least he did until this week.
A student posted the video. Penn is seen during a classroom lecture repeatedly making derogatory remarks against Republicans.
In the video, Penn can be heard calling Republicans “racist” and saying they “raped this country.” The video has drawn the ire of conservatives.
Michigan State University released a statement saying Penn met with university officials and “acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment.”
The statement goes on to say Penn’s teaching duties have been “reassigned.”
The Labor Day weekend signals an end to summer, and this week the Legislature returns to a full-time schedule.
The first order of business is final votes on expanding Medicaid.
Legislative leaders hope to wrap up the controversial question of expanding Medicaid to thousands of working poor people. The Senate has to vote on whether the coverage will begin January first, and a House vote is needed to send the bill to Governor Rick Snyder.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate's months-long debate over Medicaid expansion isn't over, even after the vote to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.
Republican senators on Tuesday will reconsider the issue of when the legislation should take effect. While the Senate passed the bill 20-18 in dramatic fashion this past week, it fell two votes short of giving it immediate effect.
Tea Party favorite Wes Nakagiri says he will challenge the re-nomination of Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley at a Republican convention next summer.
Tea Partiers have demonstrated their ability to dominate Michigan Republican conventions and cause heartburn for party leaders. Three years ago, they almost denied Rick Snyder his choice of Calley as a running mate after failing to stop Snyder from winning the Republican primary.
A former state lawmaker is launching her bid to challenge mid-Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg in 2014.
Pam Byrnes announced her campaign for the Democratic Party nomination today.
She is an attorney from Chelsea with a background in family law. She is the former Director of the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court. Byrnes was also the Executive Director of the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute.
Byrnes says Washington is broken and that is hurting middle class families.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger's chief of staff is leaving to take a job in the private sector in northern Michigan.
Bolger on Wednesday announced that Suzanne Miller Allen will resign at the end of August. She's a long-time Republican staffer who splits her time between Lansing and Traverse City, an area her husband Jason represented as a state lawmaker from 1999 through 2010.
Allen also was chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema and former House Speaker Paul Hillegonds.
There could be a vote in the state Senate in late August on a bill to extend Medicaid health coverage to thousands of un-insured working poor people.
That’s despite Governor Rick Snyder’s call for a vote earlier than that.
The governor has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval, and then sign up people in time for coverage to begin when the new federal healthcare law takes effect in January.
The state House has already passed its version of a Medicaid bill.
Michigan’s agribusiness leaders are hoping Congress will restore food assistance programs to the 2013 Farm Bill.
House Republicans approved a Farm Bill on Thursday, without any funding for food stamp programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP.
For decades, Congress has approved massive spending bills to help the nation’s farmers and provide help for the poor to buy food. But conservative House members passed a Farm Bill without the food stamp funding.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says a Democrat's call for him to convene an emergency legislative session to pressure the Senate to pass Medicaid expansion is moot for now.
The Republican governor says the Legislature has a session day scheduled on July 3rd.
Spokesman Ken Silfven said Friday that the Senate should "take care of business" on July 3rd. While the Senate technically will be in session that day and others, attendance won't be taken and no business will be voted on until August 27th.
Ever since U.S. Senator Carl Levin announced three months ago that he wouldn't seek another term next year, most Michigan Republicans have been waiting for Godot.
Except in this case, Godot is Brighton area Congressmen Mike Rogers, who most GOP leaders felt would be their strongest candidate. Rogers has been unable or unwilling to decide, however, and it seems increasingly unlikely that he will run.
He has a safe seat in Congress and a powerful and prestigious position as chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Giving all that up for a risky run for a seat in a state where Democrats usually win U.S. Senate contests might not seem that appealing. But I’ve never felt Rogers was the Republicans' strongest potential candidate. I think their best chance to win is the woman who announced her candidacy this week, Terri Lynn Land.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - High-level talks over fixing Michigan's deteriorating roads are at a standstill.
Republican and Democratic leaders can't agree much on how to even proceed.
Feeling burned by passage of a right-to-work law, Democrats won't consider tax increases without public assurances that Gov. Rick Snyder will veto other legislation. Democrats want a repeal of a law guaranteeing better wages on government construction projects taken off the table, along with talk of dividing the state's electoral votes proportionally.
Michigan lawmakers are looking at how to get online retailers to collect state sales taxes.
Currently, shoppers are supposed to report any sales taxes they owe on online purchases, and pay them with their income tax.
But most people don’t.
State Representative Eileen Kowall’s bill would put the responsibility on the online retailer. She’s quick to say this is not a tax increase, just making sure that the taxes that are owed are being paid.
Kowall says the current system puts Michigan’s ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers at an unfair disadvantage.
Union leaders are applauding a promise by state Democratic lawmakers to reinstate workplace safety regulations in Michigan.
The names of dozens of Michigan workers who died on the job were read aloud during a ceremony in Lansing. There are about 120 deaths in the workplace every year in Michigan.
Karla Swift is the president of the state AFL-CIO. She says Michigan workers need good safety regulations in place to protect them on the job "so that they come home after a day’s work in the same condition that they left in."
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Minority Democrats in the Michigan House say pension income should no longer be taxed and other Republican-backed tax changes from 2011 should be repealed.
Democrats included the proposals in a list of budget priorities unveiled Monday in Lansing. House Democrats say their plan puts "families first," but it faces an uphill climb because Republicans control the Legislature.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The drive to fix Michigan's roads is centered on winning support from lawmakers for at least $1.2 billion a year in additional taxes and fees.
But hardly any attention is being paid to how that cash should be divvied up.
Gov. Rick Snyder wants the bulk of new revenue to go to a new fund that would pass along additional dollars to road agencies. Yet few specifics about how the money would be distributed have been released since his budget was unveiled two months ago.