The Daily Digest (New Senate offices move ahead, U.S. House spending bill passes)

Good morning!

In Minnesota

A Minnesota Senate committee has approved, at least in concept, a plan and a price tag for a new office building north of the Capitol even as critics argue the building is too costly and unnecessary. (MPR News)

Gov. Mark Dayton released a $986 million plan for public works construction projects which includes 126 million for the remaining work on the state Capitol building.  (MPR News)

Not on that list: funding for the Southwest light rail project. (MPR News)

In Congress/National Politics

By a 359-67 vote, the House approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill that fills in the blanks of December’s budget agreement. Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was the sole member of the delegation to vote against the bill. The Senate will vote on the legislation later this week. (Politico)

Minnesota’s only appropriator, DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, sent out a press release highlighting the bill’s funding for a $17 million National Guard readiness center in Stillwater. McCollum was recently named to the defense appropriations subcommittee where she will soon be the second ranked Democrat so don’t be surprised by more announcements like this in the coming years. McCollum is also in line to become the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee’s Interior subcommittee, with jurisdiction over areas such as the national parks, environmental  and Native American issues.

That spending bill also includes $300 million for the ongoing Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $1.4 billion for loans to states for clean-water-infrastructure projects. (Duluth News Tribune)

Facing a potentially tough re-election campaign, 8th District Democrat Rick Nolan says polling shows his bid is in “good shape.” (Grand Rapids Herald-Review)

As campaign season really gets underway, DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken is bringing fellow Senator and liberal icon Elizabeth Warren to Minnesota for a series of campaign events in March. (MPR News)

Franken is urging the nation’s top credit and debit card companies to reassess their security measures after a series of data breaches that have comprised the personal information of millions of consumers. (Star Tribune) Franken will be a guest on the Daily Circuit at 11:30 AM today to explain more about the security issue and a recent federal court ruling on net neutrality.

The Democratic quest to win the House majority has always been something close to mission impossible. A procession of lawmakers opting for retirement is pushing the prize even further beyond the party’s grasp. (Politico)

The lowly file clerk is an endangered species among federal government workers. In 1950, clerical jobs represented three-quarters of the federal workforce. Today, these jobs are a mere 4 percent of the workforce of 2.1 million.  (Washington Post)


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