January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Mark Kennedy|
Member of the Minnesota State Senate from the 56th District
January 3, 2001 – January 7, 2003
|Preceded by||Gary W. Ladig|
|Succeeded by||Brian LeClair|
Member of the Minnesota State Senate from the 52nd District
January 7, 2003 – January 2, 2007
|Preceded by||Satveer Chaudhary|
|Succeeded by||Ray Vandeveer|
|Born||April 6, 1956
|Alma mater||Winona State University
Oral Roberts University
College of William & Mary Law School
|Religion||Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod|
Michele Marie Amble Bachmann (born April 6, 1956) is the United States Representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district and member of the Republican Party. She is the third woman, and first Republican woman, to represent Minnesota in Congress. The 6th congressional district includes the northernmost suburbs of the Twin Cities along with St. Cloud.
Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate from 2001 to 2007. She won her Congressional seat in the 2006 election with 50 percent of the vote, as she defeated Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party's John Binkowski. She was re-elected in the 2008 election, taking 46 percent of the vote in defeating her DFL challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, and Bob Anderson on the Independence line.
Bachmann was born Michele Marie Amble in Waterloo, Iowa, to a Lutheran Norwegian American family. After her parents divorced, Bachmann's father, David John Amble, moved to California, and Bachmann was raised by her mother, Jean (née Johnson), who worked at the First National Bank in Anoka, Minnesota. Bachmann grew up in Anoka, graduating from Anoka High School in 1974. She graduated from Winona State University and later received her J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University and an LL.M. degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law. She was a member of the final graduating class of Oral Roberts' law school, and was part of a group of faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school to what is now Regent University.
Bachmann and her husband own a mental health care practice in Stillwater. Bachmann also has an ownership stake in a family farm. Her holdings in the farm are worth up to $250,000, and generated annual income ranging from $2,000 a few years ago to up to $50,000 in 2008. In the period from 1995 through 2006, the Bachmann family farm as a whole received $251,973 in federal subsidies, chiefly for dairy and corn price supports.
In 1993, Bachmann and other parents in Stillwater, Minnesota opened New Heights Charter School. The oversight of New Heights soon encountered problems when a group of concerned parents and the school district questioned if the insertion of Christianity into the school's curriculum amounted to using public tax money to fund a religious school. One such parent, Denise Stephens, a longtime Republican, charged the board of directors of the school (which included Bachmann) with trying to set up classes on Creationism and advocating that "something called '12 Christian principles' be taught, very much like the 10 Commandments." According to Stephens, school officials also refused to allow the in-school screening of the Disney film Aladdin, claiming that it endorsed witchcraft and promoted paganism. Along with other directors, Bachmann appeared before the Stillwater School Board to address the parents' concerns. According to Stephens, Bachmann became angry and asked, "Are you going to question my integrity?", before she and four other members of the board resigned on the spot.
Bachmann became an outspoken critic of public education and opponent of Minnesota's Profile of Learning and School-to-Work policies. In a 1999 column, Bachmann said: "School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children's acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity."
In 2000, Bachmann defeated Gary Laidig to secure the GOP endorsement for State Senator for Minnesota District 56. She then defeated Ted Thompson of the DFL and Lyno Sullivan of the Independence party in the General Election and took her seat in the Minnesota State Senate. In 2002, after redistricting, Bachmann was pitted against a fellow incumbent State Senator, Jane Krentz of the DFL. She went on to defeat Krentz in the general election for the seat of the newly drawn District 52.
On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for what was billed as a "Minnesota for Marriage" rally. Bachmann’s efforts to get the same-sex marriage ban on a Minnesota referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed. Bachmann resurrected her proposal for a same-sex marriage ban amendment in March 2005 In April 2005, the State Senate rejected Bachmann’s proposed amendment again.
In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus. In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed Bachmann from her leadership position. Bachmann cited "philosophical differences" with Day as the reason for her ouster.
Mark Kennedy, the 6th District's congressman since 2001, announced in late 2005 that he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton of the DFL. Bachmann states she was called by God to run for the seat, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be sure.
According to Bloomberg.com news, evangelical conservative leader James Dobson put the resources of his organization behind her 2006 campaign. Dobson's Focus on the Family planned to distribute 250,000 voter guides in Minnesota churches to reach social conservatives, according to Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, a local affiliate of Dobson's group. In addition to Minnesota, Dobson’s group also organized turnout drives in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Montana.
During a debate televised by WCCO on October 28, 2006, news reporter Pat Kessler quoted a story that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and asked Bachmann whether it was true that the church she belonged to taught that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Bachmann stated that her church "does not believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, that's absolutely false... I'm very grateful that my pastor has come out and been very clear on this matter, and I think it's patently absurd and it's a false statement." Bachmann is a member of a church that is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, whose doctrine teaches that the Roman Catholic papacy is the Antichrist identified in Scripture.
Bachmann came under scrutiny by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for speaking at Living Word Christian Center (LWCC), a large charismatic church located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. CREW went on to file a complaint with the IRS against LWCC's senior pastor, Mac Hammond. CREW took issue with Hammond's using church equipment and facilities to declare "We can't publicly endorse as a church and would not for any candidate. But I can tell you personally that I'm going to vote for Michele Bachmann." It was later reported that Hammond does not live in Bachmann's district and could not vote for her. CREW maintains that this was a violation of US tax law 501(c)(3) that says if a church wants to be exempt from paying taxes then "religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions." Fellow LWCC pastor Rev. Tim Burt said Bachmann had been invited to speak about "her spiritual journey" and "there was no intent for this to be a political event." Asked about the IRS complaint, Bachmann's spokeswoman would only say "Living Word was so gracious to invite Michele to speak."The Internal Revenue Service lost the case on procedural grounds.
Bachmann received support from a fundraising visit in early July 2006 from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. On July 21, 2006, Karl Rove visited Minnesota to raise funds for her election. In August, President George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at her congressional fundraiser, which raised about $500,000. Bachmann also received fundraising support from Vice President Dick Cheney. The National Republican Congressional Committee put nearly $3 million into the race, for electronic and direct-mail ads against DFLer Wetterling. The amount was significantly more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent on behalf of Wetterling. However, Wetterling outraised Bachmann nearly 2:1 in individual contributions. On November 7, 2006, Bachmann defeated opponents Patty Wetterling and John Binkowski, taking 50 percent of the vote to Wetterling's 42 percent and Binkowski's eight percent.
Bachmann called for a full hearing of President George W. Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January 2007. She said “The American people deserve to hear and understand the merits of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict.” She "hesitated to give a firm endorsement, calling it instead 'a good first step in explaining to the American people the course toward victory in Iraq.'" When pressed by reporters, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter, saying she wanted more information. “I don't believe we have all of the information in front of us. As a member of Congress that's why I want to go to Iraq as quickly as I can. I want to get the best information in front of me.” When a resolution opposing the surge was voted on in the House of Representatives on February 16, 2007, the resolution was approved 246 to 182, with Bachmann voting "No".
On July 11, 2007, Bachmann voted against a bill that would raise the maximum Pell grant for college students from $4,310 to $5,200 by 2011, lower interest rates over five years on subsidized student loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, and raise federal student loan limits to $30,500 from $7,500. Supporters of the bill said "it would allow more students to attend college." Bachmann said her opposition was because "it fails students and taxpayers with gimmicks, hidden costs and poorly targeted aid. It contains no serious reform of existing programs, and it favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders." The bill passed the House by a 273-149 vote. President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 into law on Sept. 27, 2007, increasing the maximum Pell award from $4,310 to $5,400 by 2012.
In early July 2007, Bachmann joined a Congressional delegation visiting Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Because of security concerns Bachmann never met any Iraqis, left the Green Zone, or stayed in-country overnight. Upon her return she said she "was encouraged by reports of progress from Crocker, Gen. David Petraeus and other personnel in Iraq linked to the surge." She said the surge "hasn't had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it's working. (Gen. Petraeus) said al-Qaida in Iraq is off its plan and we want to keep it that way. The surge has only been fully in place for a week or so."
Bachmann also spoke of the delegation's visit to Islamabad, Pakistan, to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at the same time as the siege of Islamic fundamentalists at the Lal Masjid mosque elsewhere in the city. She reported that "The group [of U.S. Legislators] had to travel in armored vehicles and was constantly accompanied by Pakistani military armed with machine guns....We were all able to see extremely up close and personal what it's like to be in a region where fighting is occurring. We constantly felt like we were in need of security." Bachmann told reporters upon her return that "the dangers posed by Islamic terrorism in Iraq, Britain and Pakistan justified the continued American military presence in Iraq." She said "We don't want to see al-Qaida get a presence in the United States. Al-Qaida doesn't seem to show any signs of letting up. We have to keep that in mind."
Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, to repeal the ban on conventional light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent light bulbs. She argued that the government has no business telling consumers what kind of light bulbs they can buy: "By 2012, incandescent light bulbs will be no more," Bachmann said. "Fluorescent bulbs are more polluting because of their mercury content. We are working on a light bulb bill. If the Democrats can hose up a light bulb, don't trust them with the country."
On June 3, 2008, the President signed The Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act (H.R. 4008) into law. The goal of the bipartisan bill, introduced by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), is to bring an end to alleged frivolous lawsuits aimed chiefly at small businesses.
During the summer of 2008 as national gas prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann became a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf. She joined ten other House Republicans and members of the media on a Congressional Energy Tour to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, and to Alaska. The trip was setup by Arctic Power, an Alaskan lobbying group that advocates for ANWR development. The purpose of the trip was to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in Alaska, including ANWR.
Bachmann opposed both versions of the Wall Street bailout bill for America’s illiquid financial sector.
She voted against the first proposed $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, which failed to pass 205–228, and instead advocated a plan that would suspend mark-to-market accounting rules. She also advocated for breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suspending the capital gains tax, and barring executives from excessive compensation or golden parachutes.
Bachmann also opposed the Big Three bailout for the American auto industry. The “Big Three” refers to Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, who approached Congress to ask for roughly $15 billion to keep them operational into 2009. Bachmann criticized the bill over fear that the initial sum of money would be followed by subsequent ones without the companies making changes to revive their business. According to Bachmann, her alternative would set hard benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating labor deals and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout.
On October 17, 2008, Bachmann gave an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain that brought the Minnesota 6th Congressional District race national attention. During the interview she criticized Barack Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying "…usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into questions what Barack Obama's true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are...I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views." When asked by Matthews "How many people in the Congress of the United States do you suspect as being anti-American?" she replied "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that".
Some political commentators, including Don Frederick, condemned the statements, and Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman also condemned the statements. The five Democratic members of Minnesota's congressional delegation — Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar — issued a joint statement in which they called Bachmann's comments "embarrassing" and questioned her ability to "work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis." Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson said that the comments led to their endorsing Obama for president.
Bachmann brought up the interview before business leaders and Republicans during a campaign stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota on October 21, 2008. She stated that she never intended to question Obama's patriotism. "I made a misstatement. I said a comment that I would take back. I did not, nor do I, question Barack Obama's patriotism.... I did not say that Barack Obama is anti-American nor do I believe that Barack Obama is anti-American... [But] I'm very concerned about Barack Obama's views. I don't believe that socialism is a good thing for America."
In 2008, Bachmann won re-election over her Democratic and Independence Party endorsed opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg. With all precincts reported, Bachmann won, 46.41% to 43.43%. Because Tinklenberg was running as a DFLer in the Democratic primary this allowed candidate Bob Anderson to run in the Independence Party primary unopposed despite not having the Independence endorsement. Anderson received 10% of the vote.
On March 26, Bachmann introduced legislation that would bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency. Current law prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., but Bachmann's legislation would address concerns relating to the President's power to make and interpret treaties. Earlier that month at a Financial Services Committee hearing, Bachmann asked both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if they would reject calls for the U.S. to move away from the U.S. dollar and they replied that they would reject such a call.
In regards to the issue of climate change, Bachmann has taken to the floor to assert that since carbon dioxide is "a natural byproduct of nature", it is actually a beneficial gas required by plant life. She stated that because life requires CO2 and it is part of the life cycle on Earth it cannot be harmful. In a statement she made on the House floor on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Bachmann stated she was against the cap and trade carbon tax because "Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful.... We're being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the earth."
In a June 17, 2009, interview with The Washington Times, Bachmann expressed concern that the questions on the 2010 United States Census had become "very intricate, very personal" and that ACORN, a community organizing group that had come under fire the previous year, might be part of the Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts. She stated, "I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home, we won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that." Fellow Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, which oversees the census, subsequently asked Bachmann not to boycott the population count.
Along with Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Bachmann introduced the American Community Survey Act to limit the amount of personal information solicited by the US Census Bureau. She reiterated her belief that the census asks too many personal questions.
On March 21, 2009, Bachmann did an interview with the Northern Alliance’s John Hinderaker and Brian Ward on WWTC 1280 AM promoting two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury regarding President Obama's proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." She then told listeners that Thomas Jefferson told us that "having a revolution every now and then is a good thing." According to the Star Tribune her quote went viral across the internet. Bachmann's office quickly clarified that she was only speaking metaphorically, meaning "armed with knowledge."
In 2009, Bachmann became a vocal critic of what she characterized as proposals for mandatory public service. Speaking in reference to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an expansion to AmeriCorps (a federal community service organization), she said in April:
It’s under the guise of — quote — volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government.... I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.
The original bill called for an exploration of whether a mandatory public service program could be established, but that entire section on creating a "Congressional Commission on Civic Service" was stripped from the bill.
In August 2009, political opponents of Bachmann publicized in the local media and the blogosphere what they described as the "ironic" fact that her son, Harrison, joined Teach for America, which is a member of the AmeriCorps program.
Bachmann contributed to the "death panel" controversy when she read from a July 24 article written by Betsy McCaughey from the floor of the House. Sarah Palin said that her "death panel" remark was inspired by what she called the "Orwellian" opinions of Ezekiel Emanuel as described by Bachmann, who accused him of advocating health care rationing by age and disability. According to PolitiFact and Time magazine, Bachmann's euthanasia claim distorted Emanuel's position on health care for the elderly and disabled. FactCheck.org asserted, "We agree that Emanuel’s meaning is being twisted." When many doctors wanted to legalize euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, Emanuel opposed it.
On August 31, 2009, Bachmann spoke at an event in Colorado, saying of Democratic health care overhaul proposals that:
"This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass."
She outlined ideas for changing the health care system, including: “Erase the boundaries around every single state when it comes to health care,” enabling consumers to purchase insurance across state lines; increase the use of health savings accounts and allow everyone to “take full deductibility of all medical expenses,” including insurance premiums; and tort reform.
Bachmann denounced the government-run health insurance public option, calling it a "government takeover of health care" that would "squeeze out private health insurance".
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she is currently the 21st largest recipient of the 435 members in the United States House of Representatives for contributions from the insurance industry, which consists of health, life, property and car insurance companies. However, the health sector, which consists of professionals in all health-related fields, has not been nearly as supportive, where she ranks 230 of the 435 members in the House for the 2010 election campaign contributions.
Bachmann's positions include:
Bachmann supports the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes. During a 2003 interview on KKMS Christian radio program "Talk The Walk", Bachmann said that evolution is a theory that has never been proven, one way or the other. She co-authored a bill that would require public schools to include alternative explanations for the origin of life as part of the state's public school science curricula. In October 2006, Bachmann told a debate audience in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that "there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not.... There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design."
Bachmann opposes minimum wage increases Bachmann favors a broad approach to American energy independence. She supports increased domestic drilling of oil and natural gas as well as pursuing renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. She is a strong proponent of nuclear power
In a 2001 flyer, Bachmann and Michael J. Chapman wrote that federal policies were forming a structure to impose a centralized, state-controlled economy in the United States. She wrote that education laws passed by Congress in 2001, including "School To Work" and "Goals 2000", created a new national school curriculum that embraced "a socialist, globalist worldview; loyalty to all government and not America." In 2003, Bachmann said that the "Tax Free Zones" economic initiatives of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty were based on the Marxist principle of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." She also said that the administration was attempting to govern and run centrally-planned economies through an organization called the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT), an advisory board on economic and workforce policy chaired by Pawlenty. She claimed that health care reform advocates "forg[etting] what the Constitution says."
Prior to her election to the State Senate and again in 2005, Bachmann signed a "no new taxes" pledge sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. As Senator, Bachmann introduced two bills that would have severely limited state taxation. In 2003 she proposed amending the Minnesota state constitution to adopt the "Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights" (TABOR).
In 2005, Bachmann opposed Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s proposal for a state surcharge of 75 cents per pack on the wholesale cost of cigarettes. Bachmann said that she opposed the state surcharge "100 percent—it's a tax increase." She later came under fire from the Taxpayers' League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.
Bachmann supports both a federal and state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any legal equivalents. In support of a constitutional amendment she proposed to ban same-sex marriage, Bachmann said that the gay community was specifically targeting children and that "our children...are the prize for this community." Bachmann has said that people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender suffer from "sexual dysfunction" and "sexual identity disorders."
Bachmann has been a longtime opponent of abortion. In 2006, Bachmann stated that she would vote to permit abortion in cases of rape and incest. In the Senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.
Bachmann is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2008, she opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district
Gary W. Ladig
|Minnesota State Senator from the 56th District
|Minnesota State Senator from the 52nd District
Michele Bachmann (born April 6, 1956) is a Republican State Representative for Minnesota's 6th congressional district.
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Michele Marie Bachmann is the U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 6th congressional district and a member of the Republican Party. She is also a supporter for the Tea Party Movement and founder of the House's Tea Party Caucus. She was born in Waterloo, Iowa on April 6th, 1956.