Dayton, GOP squabble over health care, roads

Political back and forth in St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton says more than two dozen road and bridge repair projects may be delayed after federal funding was blocked by a top House Republican.

State departments need legislative approval to spend federal money like the $105 million sum transportation officials had lined up for 28 projects. When the Legislature isn't in session, that authority falls to a small group of interim lawmakers.

Republican Rep. Tim Kelly objected, arguing the sum should be approved directly by the Legislature. Dayton on Wednesday called that a senseless interruption that may result in construction delays.

It's another consequence of the messy and inconclusive end to the 2016 legislative session. A major construction package would have given the Department of Transportation the OK, but that bill failed.

Meantime, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt is threatening to call for Gov. Dayton's resignation over Minnesota's rising health care costs and access issues.

Daudt made the bold claim Wednesday. He said he'd call on the governor to resign if Dayton isn't working around the clock to hammer out health care fixes.

Dayton's spokesman Linden Zakula calls it a "temper tantrum" that doesn't merit a response.

Premiums will rise by as much as 67 percent in Minnesota's individual market for next year. Dayton has urged legislative leaders to come up with solutions by the end of the month.

Daudt says offsetting the rising costs is important but there's a bigger issue: limits for how many consumers most of the insurers must cover. Daudt says that will leave many uncovered next year.


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