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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Pro-Kline Lit Piece Proves You Can Say Anything

Category: John Kline
Posted: 10/27/14 12:08

by Dave Mindeman

You can pretty much say anything in a lit piece. Friends of John Kline prove that....

"When Washington gridlock threatened to let student loan interest rates double, John Kline was the one who wrote the bipartisan law that lowered rates immediately, while also permanently removing politicians and bureaucrats from setting interest rates."

That's what a flyer mailed into the 2nd District said. Yes, the Republican Party of Minnesota said that. And Kline for Congress approves that message.

It is interesting that they use the word "gridlock". Ironic in that Kline has caused more gridlock on education than any Congressperson in Washington. No Child Left Behind still languishes in committee. It has gotten so many state waivers that few people realize it is still the law of the land. It has been Kline's responsibility to fix it - he hasn't.

An then there is that "bipartisan" law on student loans. Kline is hoping you won't remember that the student loan issue was another one of the House Majority's brinksmanship ploys. Student loans were set at 3.4% at the time - an artificial number to be sure, but it was there none-the-less. The Obama administration wanted a permanent fix but were willing to extend that 3.4% another year if no progress was made. Kline kept insisting on a rate that that floated with a Federal interest rate. Since Kline refused to allow extension, Obama's administration compromised on the rates to avoid the 6.8% rate that would occur if nothing was done.

Now, Kline DID write the House bill - but it was changed in the Senate and it was changed in the compromise bill to take out the draconian changes that Kline was putting forward. Because of those changes to the bill, Democrats in the House were grudingly willing to sign on to the bill with the interest rate deadline coming down to the wire.

And yes, the bill did PREVENT the rate from going to 6.8% - in Kline speak that means it was LOWERED, but the interest rate that the student loans are attached to has already gone up - currently sitting at 5.09%. Grad students will be paying 7.64% because they get no Fed subsidies. So, the rate is lower than 6.8% but more than the 3.4% we started with.

And then there is still the problem of For Profit Colleges. These charlatans take more than their fair share of those Federal student loans and in return often get a worthless piece of paper, that gets them no job but with a mountain of debt to pay back. Loan default rates are up to 50% with these For Profit colleges. And the lobbyists that represent them have made John Kline the largest donor recipient of their campaign contributions.

Kline's 2nd District opponent, Mike Obermueller, released a statement on the flyer's bogus claims.....

"While this law is marginally better than Kline's original proposal, which would have doubled student loan interest rates, this law has clearly distracted Congress from the meaningful reform we actually need - reform that Congressman Kline has been actively avoiding since he became chair of the House education committee.

"Students should not be a profit center for the federal government. Allowing obscenely high interest rates, like Kline's bill does, is certainly not the answer to our country's student debt woes.

"We need to be making sure our students have real tools to make college affordable. That means allowing students to refinance their student loans, ensuring interest rates aren't used as a profit making device for the federal government, and making college more affordable on the front end.

"While Kline may have authored a bill regarding student loan interest rates that happened to be signed into law, it takes an artful rewriting of history to paint him as a friend to students. I will always be looking out for our young people's best interests when I represent our district in Congress."

Somebody should be looking out for students - it sure isn't Kline.
comments (1) permalink

John Kline - Trust Me!

Category: John Kline
Posted: 10/26/14 20:29

by Dave Mindeman

Congressman John Kline is feeling pretty smug these days. He even had the temerity to come out from under his rock and appear in public....campaigning with State Sen. Koznick. He even had a few words to say to a Star Tribune reporter.

"At a time of frustration and gridlock, I've been able to deliver and get legislation passed. People really like that message because they are frustrated with what they think is gridlock. People have more mistrust in their government than maybe any other time in my lifetime," Kline said, over burgers after canvassing. "I feel like I've been able to convey to them that they can trust me."

Trust him?

That whole paragraph that he just espoused has no basis in reality.

He says he delivers on legislation - and then he touts his 3 items from his commercials and lit pieces. A law tightening up sex-trafficking, getting bonuses for the National Guard, and a workforce training bill. To John Kline, that constitutes landmark anti-gridlock action. And by his standards, I guess it is. Since the sex-trafficking law was conjured up just recently - with virtually no opposition (on purpose), and the Guard bonuses just happens to be from the last Congress, not this one, and the workforce training was a Republican allowance after several NO votes on extending unemployment benefits.

But Kline does not talk about his contributions to gridlock. To his support for government shutdown. For his 55 votes to repeal Obamacare. For his zero progress on reforming No Child Left Behind. For his personal gavelling down of even the discussion of a fix to the For Profit College scams that are taking GI money away from Veterans. For his insistence on a student loan fix which actually increased student loan rates to 5.9%.

John Kline assumes that we are just going to ignore all of that. Because John Kline is right - people mistrust government. And John Kline quietly builds on a non-functional government to suit his own purposes.

John Kline tells us we can trust him - even if we can't trust the government. Just accept his paternalistic pat on the shoulder and let him handle all those details that we shouldn't pay attention to.

Just accept his word. He knows better. He's taking care of things.

Yeah, John Kline is smiling these days.

Trust me, he says - while the lobbyists stuff his pockets.
comments (2) permalink

Strib Endorses Kline With Convoluted Reasoning

Category: John Kline
Posted: 10/25/14 11:21

by Dave Mindeman

The Star Tribune endorsed Kline again - like they did last year. Their reasoning included convoluted statements like these....

It's that expertise, and a strong record of getting serious legislation enacted, that has earned Kline a return trip to Congress despite a reputation that has been tarnished by his coziness with for-profit colleges.

Voters would be shortsighted to dismiss a candidate with Kline's clout. The silver-haired representative deserves their support, with the caveat that he needs to more aggressively hold disreputable for-profit colleges accountable.


As for that serious legislation that he has enacted, here is the list:

Kline has struck an impressive balance between enacting major legislation (workforce training, steadying student loan interest rates) while still tending the home fires. An example: Kline was a strong advocate for building a new overpass for a dangerous Hwy. 52 intersection in Goodhue County.

Kline's work on legislation to protect child sex trafficking victims is also commendable, as is the legislative fix he championed to help members of the Minnesota National Guard and other soldiers get overdue bonus pay. In addition, Kline has cast sensible votes to raise the debt ceiling and resolve early 2013's "fiscal cliff." He was not among his party's radicals.

Workforce training was enacted after the House Majority rejected extending unemployment benefits over and over. The student loan "steadying" resulted in an increase in rates from 3.4% to 5.9%. (Really?) The sex trafficking legislation came just recently....and who is going to be favoring sex trafficking for kids? The National Guard bonus pay could have been put in last year's endorsement because it happened last term. And Kline's "sensible" votes? The debt ceiling vote came after he stood with his radical friends in a previous vote that got the nation's credit rating downgraded and caused a near stock market crash....and of course, TARP.

In six terms, Kline has a handful of these "bipartisan" success stories. And most of them come just prior to election cycles.

But what I find especially gauling is this....

He's also capable of putting on impromptu foreign policy seminars when he sits down with the Editorial Board, using knowledge complemented by his 25 years in the Marine Corps and his travels to war zones while in office.

Seriously? Military expertise? John Kline supported the Iraq War debacle. He has supported keeping troops everywhere. And he supports more boots on the ground in our current conflict with ISIS. Kline loves war.

The idea that he can regurgitate his military travels can't make up for the fact that he is completely wrong on foreign policy.....and totally out of step with the feelings of his district.

The Strib endorsing Kline was expected. They like the idea of having a House Committee Chair to talk to.

But their reasoning is ridiculous - and being bought by the For Profit College lobby is not something to be dismissed as an after thought.
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