Minnesota Republicans on Monday brought back a theme from their last minute campaign ads and attempted again to turn a health issue into a political one.
Last November, the Republican party ran attack ads against Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) saying he wasn’t prepared for the Ebola outbreak and against Senator Al Franken (DFL) saying he was disinterested in the Ebola threat.
Last week the DFL swatted back asking what had happened to the Republican urgency on fighting Ebola since they had delayed a hearing on paying for Minnesota dealing with Ebola preparedness.
Monday House Republicans in the Ways and Means Committee tried to score political points in their questions to Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger. Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) acknowledged the Ehlinger probably couldn’t answer the question, but asked should the Governor Dayton had called a special session to fund Ebola preparedness instead of waiting until this year. Ehlinger said his focus was on the health of safety of Minnesotans and he thought his department responded well. Calling a special session was “up to the governor and the legislature.”
Another question that has no expected answer
Rep. Sarah Anderson (R- Plymouth) also didn’t expect an answer to her question of Ehlinger, which was really more of a comment. She wanted to point out the $891,000 needed to fight Ebola was about the same amount of money Dayton wanted to give in pay raises to his commissioners. “ I think that’s a point we need to be aware of as we’re having this discussion today.”
Republicans then amended the spending bill to cut a total of about $40,000 from the funding of the departments of Health, Human Services and Natural Resources and directing that those funds should be subtracted from the salary hikes for those three commissioners.
Video at top: Reps Hamilton and Anderson make their points
Video below: entire House Ways and Means Committee hearing