Thanksgiving is a time when families across the country gather around their dining room tables and reflect on life’s many blessings—not least of these being the blessing of family itself.
This year, as my time in the House of Representatives is coming to a close, I am particularly thankful for the opportunity to serve the wonderful people of Minnesota.
While it didn’t always make headlines, a major highlight of my service in Congress was advocating on behalf of vulnerable children, as a co-chair of both the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth.
Together with my fellow Foster Youth Caucus co-chairs, we introduced the Uninterrupted Scholars Act, pushed it through both chambers, and got it to the President’s desk. This law helps ease paperwork and protects foster youth as they transition from school to school.
We worked side-by-side to pass Foster Youth Caucus co-chair Rep. Karen Bass’ legislation in the House to fight the link between child sex trafficking and foster youth.
And together, we introduced “Justina’s Law” to prohibit federal funding for unnecessary and risky medical experimentation on children classified as wards of the state.
These are just a few of the ways in which we were able to overcome the usual political differences and work tirelessly to address the challenges these children face.
Back home in Minnesota we have so many heroes who care for foster children and adopt them, and every year I am proud to nominate someone from my district as an “Angel in Adoption.” This year the award went to Mark and Julie Martindale of Elk River, who have adopted nine children with disabilities. They are a shining example of why my caucus colleagues and I do what we do, and I am so thankful for them. They not only joyfully welcomed children into their homes, but gave them a chance at life.
I’m thankful that my office was often able to intervene to help constituents finalize their adoptions, including the Malikowskis of Sartell, who adopted their beautiful daughter from Ethiopia, and the Ryghs of Bayport who needed visa assistance in their adoption of their son from Jamaica.
While we celebrate every success story, there is still much work to be done. In the United States alone there are 400,000 children living without permanent families. Of those, more than 100,000 children are eligible for adoption. Each year, 23,000 of them will simply age out of the foster care system without finding permanent homes.
Fittingly, November is National Adoption Month and November 22 is this year’s National Adoption Day. As you prepare to join your families for Thanksgiving dinner, take a moment to think about how you can make a difference in the life of a child within the foster care system. Every child, regardless of age, race, nationality, or circumstance, deserves a chance at a forever family.
When we were foster parents to 23 at-risk girls, my husband Marcus always said, “Every child needs at least one person who is crazy about them.” With your help, we can make sure that every child waiting for a family has a place to call home for the holidays.
Michele Bachmann is the retiring U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.
This piece originally appeared in TIME on November 20, 2014. Click here to view the original.Read More
By U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, 6th District, Minnesota
As U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann wraps up 8 years in Congress, she cites people, projects and legistlation that mean the most to her.
At 12 years old, sitting in the back of my mother's car as we drove north on Interstate 35 to our new home in Anoka, I could have never imagined what the future held.
Forty-six years later, I leave Congress and the incredible privilege of serving the wonderful people of the 6th District — the same place where I went to high school, started a small business and raised our family of five biological children and 23 foster children.
My first priority upon taking office was to provide the very best constituent services possible. We protected Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits. We helped with immigration and adoption cases. We would even call U.S. Embassies at 4 a.m. on a Sunday to help with passport problems. In total, we completed more than 3,000 individual constituent cases.
While these untold stories didn't dominate the headlines, they have been my favorite aspect of being your congresswoman.
I always sought your feedback from town halls, phone calls, letters, emails, and over coffee from Keys Cafe in Forest Lake to Copper Lantern in St. Cloud, plus many places in between. I listened to your concerns and gave them a voice.
After the auto bailout, Fury Dodge, a staple of our community in Lake Elmo, was put on the chopping block by Washington bureaucrats. I was proud to lead a rally as the community came together to keep the dealership open. Today, cars still roll off the Fury lot, and a family-owned business remains intact.
Nothing is more important to the continued growth and prosperity of Minnesota than transportation. Entering Congress, my top priorities were building the Stillwater bridge, adding lanes on either side of Interstate 94, increasing safety and mobility of U.S. Highway 10, and returning commercial air service to St. Cloud Regional Airport.
Working together with federal, state and local officials, we made tremendous progress on each.
After decades of delay, I helped bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass the St. Croix River Crossing legislation in 2012. Last year, this vital project began construction and is on time and under budget.
This summer, after years of work, we broke ground to expand Interstate 94 at the most congested portion of the corridor. The improvements to Highway 10 continue with the help of a federal grant to improve safety at the Highway 10/Armstrong Boulevard intersection.
In May, I was honored to be on the inaugural flight from Chicago to St. Cloud, a long-awaited goal for the community that took years of teamwork. This was the third connection after commercial air service returned to St. Cloud in 2012. I also helped keep the air traffic control towers open after the federal government threatened to shut them down last summer.
On the national stage, I never stopped fighting for Minnesota values — don't spend more than you take in, reward hard work and innovation, and get government out of the way.
That's why I voted against the costly Wall Street bailout, the automobile bailout, and the trillion dollar stimulus — all paid for with borrowed money leaving our children and grandchildren with a stack of unpaid bills.
I also led the charge against Obamacare's government takeover of one-sixth of our economy, which has resulted in canceled plans, premium rate increases and the devastating medical device tax.
Instead, I advocated solutions so costs really would be lowered and more people would have access to the care they need and deserve. Last year, the House passed my bill to repeal Obamacare so we can begin anew with free market, patient-centered health care reforms.
As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I co-authored bipartisan credit card consumer protection legislation that was signed by President Bush in 2008.
As a foster mom, I was proud to help establish the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. Along with my co-chairs, we championed the Uninterrupted Scholars Act, which granted social workers greater access to foster children's educational records. It was signed by President Obama last year.
I also was privileged to co-chair the Congressional Caucus on Adoption and recently took a child welfare trip to Haiti.
As a member of the Intelligence Committee, I traveled to more than 30 countries and met with world leaders and ambassadors on the pressing issues of terrorism, national security and foreign policy.
But no one left the indelible mark on me as much as our brave men and women in the armed services. I helped bring additional health care options for veterans through the Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Ramsey and enjoyed visiting our veterans at the St. Cloud VA.
Visiting with Minnesotans on the front lines during multiple trips to Iraq and Afghanistan remains a highlight of my tenure in Congress and it deepened my belief of our sacred obligation to our veterans. The promise of the American Dream comes at a cost, and we must never forget the sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line.
In my time in Congress I have fought to preserve this great nation and to tirelessly advocate for the dignified people who entrusted me to act as their representative in Washington. The district didn't send me to Washington to be a defender of special interests but as a fighter for the people.
I may be leaving Congress, but I will continue the fight to leave a better future for our children and grandchildren.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve you. It has been the honor of a lifetime.
This is the opinion of 6th District U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was elected to Congress in 2006 and ends her service this year.Read More
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Sen. Amy Klobuchar were all smiles today (Monday, Oct. 27) at the recently-expanded dental clinic at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System.
In a display of bipartisanship, they whole-heartedly voiced their support for the clinic which can serve more veterans. KNSI News Anchor Frank Lee spoke to Bachmann and Klobuchar.
“Veterans aren’t just Republicans, aren’t just Democrats, and we understand that and that’s why we worked together on these veterans issues,” Klobuchar said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This dental clinic is one where there’s a desperate need for it when you look at the numbers and how they’ve increased with the number of people that need dental help out here at the VA clinic in St. Cloud.”
The expanded clinic at the St. Cloud VA features seven new dental chairs, bringing the total number at the clinic to 18. And a new oral surgery room is among the new amenities.
“I think that it’s important for people here in the St. Cloud area to realize what a first-class facility that we enjoy and our veterans enjoy here in St. Cloud,” Bachmann said from the VA.
The expanded dental clinic also features a private operatory space for special needs veterans, a dental office, and a new reception and waiting area for veterans at the St. Cloud VA.
“They’ve given everything for us without question, and we need to be there to keep our promise to veterans as well,” Bachmann said as she mingled with dentists and VA officials.
The new dental chairs have been servicing veterans for more than a month before today's dedication, according to VA officials, and three new dentists were added to the VA staff in the past 18 months.
For more information about the St. Cloud VA Health Care System or about how veterans can apply for health care, call 255-6340 or visit www.stcloud.va.gov.
This article originally appeared on KNSI on October 27, 2014. Click here to view the original.Read More
Washington, D.C. – In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, will examine the rise of the modern Tea Party and how it shook up the political debate. And with just weeks before the midterm elections, she also will outline a unifying agenda to restore the principles of American greatness and opportunity.
Speech Title: The Tea Party: Continuing the Revolution in American Thought
When: Wednesday, October 15 at 10am ET
Where: Heritage Foundation, Allison Auditorium
Note: Click here to RSVP.
The VA Inspector General’s office is currently investigating allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data that may have put veterans’ lives at risk
In a letter, the delegation requested a meeting with Secretary McDonald to discuss the findings of that investigation once it’s completed to help ensure steps are taken to correct problems and punish any wrongdoing
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, John Kline, Michele Bachmann, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Erik Paulsen, and Rick Nolan requested a meeting with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald to discuss recent reports of falsified records at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. The VA Inspector General’s office is currently investigating allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data that may have put veterans’ lives at risk. In a letter, the delegation requested a meeting with Secretary McDonald to discuss the findings of that investigation once it’s completed to help ensure steps are taken to correct problems and punish any wrongdoing.
“We are deeply troubled by serious allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System,” the delegation wrote. “These allegations are currently under investigation by the VA Inspector General and the Department of Justice. We request that you meet with us at the conclusion of this important investigation to discuss its findings and the steps you are taking to ensure any wrongdoing is appropriately punished and that Minnesota veterans are receiving the highest quality care without undue delays.”
The full text of the delegation’s letter is below:
Dear Secretary McDonald:
We are deeply troubled by serious allegations of falsified records and manipulation of scheduling data at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System. According to media reports, these inappropriate practices have caused delays in care that put lives at risk and in at least one case may have contributed to the death of a young Marine veteran. In addition, VA employees who raised concerns may have been retaliated against by their superiors.
These allegations are currently under investigation by the VA Inspector General and the Department of Justice. We have urged them to proceed as quickly and thoroughly as possible so that any mismanagement or mistreatment of veterans is identified and eliminated and anyone responsible can be held to account.
We request that you meet with us at the conclusion of this important investigation to discuss its findings and the steps you are taking to ensure any wrongdoing is appropriately punished and that Minnesota veterans are receiving the highest quality care without undue delays. Since your confirmation, we have greatly appreciated your commitment to increasing transparency and accountability within the Department. We believe that the opportunity to discuss our concerns about the VA in Minnesota with you is essential to the process of restoring the trust of our state’s veterans and their families in the VA health care system.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) recognized Mark and Julie Martindale of Elk River, Minnesota as the 2014 Angels in Adoption from Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. Mark and Julie Martindale began parenting with their two biological children, Tyler and McKenna, but when McKenna was born with a serious and life threatening birth defect that led to other complications, they soon knew that there would be room in their family for another child with special needs. The couple originally intended to adopt one or two foster children, but after thirteen-month-old Evan died from his complications in 2006, the family couldn’t imagine a child fighting for their lives without a forever family by their side. They have now adopted nine children with disabilities, some of which are severe. Their home is bustling with the activities of normal family life plus the added challenges that go along with the disabilities, but they still manage to find time to volunteer and work as educational advocates for children with special needs. “It was an honor to meet Mark and Julie,” said Bachmann. “The beauty of the Martindale family story can be summed up by their family motto: ‘Where there is God, there is love. Where there is love, there is room for one more.’ Caring for special needs youth is no easy task, and the Martindales handle it with grace and faith. Their children are better for having been provided a forever family, and the Sixth District is better for having this family as an example of love.”A mother to five biological children and foster mother to 23 children, Bachmann is the co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. Angels in Adoption is a program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute that allows Members of Congress to honor constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans.For more photos from Bachmann's visit with the Martindales, click here.
Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) released the following statement today after voting against arming the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels:
"For more than three years the President has remained indecisive on whether or not to arm and support the shrinking ranks of ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels who are rapidly aligning with the Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.
"His failure to convince the American people, coupled with turning a blind eye to this ongoing conflict, has once again left the United States without any good options.
"Many of the so-called ‘moderate’ rebels have already joined the cause of Islamic jihad, and President Obama has failed to coherently outline how he would prevent American weapons from getting into the hands of our enemies.
"President Obama has the right conclusion – defeating the Islamic State – but a flawed strategy filled with half-measures to reach it.
"The Islamic State declared war against the United States, and President Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to follow him in a Vietnam-style slow walked response. I will not.
"Either the United States chooses to decisively defeat this brutal evil with all available resources, or we will have to answer the next generation's questions regarding why we failed to defeat the totalitarian evil of our day."
On September 16, I returned to Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" to talk about my recent trip to Haitian orphanages, make my daughter-in-law's Mighty Gal Frittata Muffin recipe (posted here), play with kittens, and more. It was so wonderful to return and spend more time with Mark Steines, Cristina Ferrare and the rest of the crew at Hallmark. For more recipes, crafts, and behind the scenes pictures, follow me on Pinterest and Instagram.Adoption/Haiti Discussion: Making Mighty Gal Muffins: Read More
Washington, D.C. -- Last night, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) sat down with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren about her newly introduced legislation, the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, which will amend existing laws and include involvement in terrorist groups like ISIS as grounds for denaturalization and passport revocation.
Some Highlights:"This isn't new to us. We've studied this for well over two years. We saw this go up tempo, and I'm from Minnesota which has unfortunately had terrorist connections, particularly to ISIS. The first two Americans that were killed [while fighting] with the Islamic State were from Minnesota."
"We're very concerned. Americans have a right to feel safe in their own homes. At least 50 [Americans] have gone to fight for al-Shabaab. We now have at least 20 that have gone to fight with ISIS."
"I can't tell you what the President's reasoning is, but I do know that all of this information was available to the White House on a daily basis. They knew what we knew and probably even more."
"...when I asked the FBI for a briefing, they told me yes, there are Minnesotans that are in Syria fighting for the Islamic State. I asked them...if these individuals want to come back to the United States--they have U.S. passports--would they be allowed to do so. I was blown away when the FBI told me they could come back into the United States...as many of them have."
Bachmann is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
2417 Rayburn HOB
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In 2006, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann became the first Republican woman to be elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a self-proclaimed “Constitutional Conservative,” Bachmann is committed to fixing Washington’s broken ways by advocating for America’s adherence to the Constitution. Bachmann has become known on Capitol Hill as a member who champions tax reform, works to cut wasteful government spending and supports limiting the size of our government. She also is devoted to the repeal of Obamacare, a legislation she believes is an example of government’s recent uninhibited growth. In Bachmann’s view, the government needs to make the kind of serious spending decisions that many families and small businesses across America have been forced to make. As a believer in the traditional values upon which this country was founded, she consistently defends America’s religious liberties and the importance of the family as the first unit of government. She also has continuously worked to defend the right to life for all Americans, including the unborn.
Bachmann is a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Financial Services Committee. She has taken the opportunity of serving on the Intelligence Committee to regularly advocate for peace through strength to ensure America’s national security. As she vowed in her Oath of Office, Bachmann continues to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Bachmann is devoted to doing her part to ensure America’s safety. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, Bachmann has been given keen insight into the current housing crisis and credit crunch. This insight has led her to be a staunch opponent of the taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street and the Dodd-Frank legislation.
As the federal government continues to grow under the current administration, Bachmann was honored to establish the Tea Party Caucus in July 2010. She is proud to stand with the Tea Party to call for lower taxes, renewed focus on the Constitution and smaller government.
Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate from 2000-2006. As a Minnesota State Senator, she championed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Before holding elected office, Bachmann worked on hundreds of civil and criminal cases as a federal tax litigation attorney. Through her experience as a tax attorney, Bachmann came to understand firsthand the need to simplify the current tax code and reduce taxes on families and small businesses. Yet, it was her role as a mother of five and foster mother of 23 that led her to call for the abolishment of Goals 2000 and the Profiles of Learning and start a charter school for at-risk kids in Minnesota.
Bachmann is a graduate of Anoka High School and Winona State University. After receiving her J.D. at the O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University and an L.L.M. in Tax Law at the College of William and Mary, she along with her husband, Marcus moved their young family to Stillwater, Minnesota. There they opened a small business health care practice that employs nearly fifty people. The Bachmanns, who have been married over thirty years, have five children, Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline and Sophia. The Bachmanns have also cared for 23 foster children, inspiring Bachmann’s tireless efforts in Congress on behalf of America’s foster and adopted children, a role that has earned her bipartisan praise.
She is proud to represent Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, which contains parts of seven counties, stretching from Scandia to Saint Cloud and Waconia to Waite Park.
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Meeting with Chief Patrol Agent Kevin Oaks at the McAllen, Texas Border Patrol Station. http://t.co/fvV9bc4TP3
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Visiting US-Mexico border to discuss impact of the President's unconstitutional executive amnesty http://t.co/j5WBVrEdD0
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Gohmert: 'An Offense to the Constitution'; Bachmann: 'Contempt' for Americans http://t.co/FMU0LHn4y6
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President Obama’s executive amnesty flouts the Constitution, disregards the election results, and defies the will of the American people.
Considering adoption? Here are 10 reasons why you should.
Happy Adoption Day! Today children across the country will officially join their forever families. Congratulations and thank you to everyone
As I wrap up my time in Congress, I want to share with you some final thoughts and highlights of the past eight years. Thank you for this opportunity
My thoughts, prayers, and deep appreciation go with our wonderful members of the Minnesota National Guard. However, the American people are clearly
Here’s what the Obama administration really thinks about the American people.