IF 167 Republicans hold to their principles, Brad Finstad’s legislation will need support from Democrats

The January 13th issue of “Finstad in the Field” presents the legislative efforts of Brad Finstad to “deliver real results for a richer, safer and freer Minnesota and America” … promoting two bills that he has authored :

Honoring the Late Congressman Jim Hagedorn

This week I introduced two pieces of legislation to honor the life and legacy of the late U.S. Congressman Jim Hagedorn, who served as the U.S. Representative for the First District from 2019 until his death from stage IV kidney cancer in 2022. 

The first would rename the post office in Blue Earth, Minnesota after Congressman Hagedorn, who was born in Blue Earth and is where he lived during his time in Congress. Jim was a true public servant, a commonsense conservative with an unparalleled work ethic. He loved few things more than his Minnesota roots, and I am proud to honor him by preserving his legacy in the Blue Earth community.

Additionally, I re-introduced the American Workforce Empowerment Act, which was one of Congressman Hagedorn’s top legislative priorities during his time in office. The bill would allow 529 savings accounts to be used for non-degree technical training certificate programs, apprenticeships, tools, and any tests that are required to obtain and maintain certifications.

Ah … it seems that “Bunkum Brad” is truly “Finstad Focused” on doing his best imitation of former North Carolina Representative Felix Walker who was known for saying something that could appear in the Buncombe County newspapers in his home district and prove he was on the job … which is the origin of the word “bunkum”.

Thus it would seem likely that H. R. 328 the “Jim Hagedorn Post Office” would pass … but heck, if you thought that, you probably would have thought that when current Speaker Of The House Kevin McCarthy sponsored H. R. 2842 “Lynn C. Woolsey Post Office Building” on April 26, 2021, it would surely garner strong Republican support … but you would be wrong. 167 Republicans voted against the bill.

WHY ? Woolsey served in the House for two decades from 1993 to 2013 … but she was a “progressive Democrat” who opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq … worse yet her ultimate sin was to vote against accepting Ohio’s Electoral College votes for George Bush.

Jim Hagedorn, along with Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber, voted against naming the Woolsey Post Office.

Others believe that naming post offices should be reserved for veterans … de facto Speaker of the House Chip Roy said “As a matter of principle, I will not vote for politicians to name buildings after other politicians. I don’t think it is a wise use of time. As it pertains to post offices specifically”.

But even being a veteran does not guarantee a YES vote on building names …. take Max Cleland, a former Senator from Georgia who lost three limbs in Vietnam but when it came to voting to name a Veterans Affairs building after him, there were 62 NO votes including Brad Finstad and Michelle Fishbach. First District voters may remember that in 2006, Cleland traveled the roads from North Mankato to Austin campaigning for fellow-Democrat Tim Walz against Gil Gutknecht.

So there is history to oppose naming a Post Office after someone who voted to deny accepting a State’s Electoral College vote, and to deny non-veterans, (and there is consideration for age as the Senate generally does not approve naming changes unless the person is over 70), but does Jim Hagedorn deserve an exception because of his legislative accomplishments ? Well … he only authored one bill that was approved by the House … H. R. 5146 Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019 which requires the federal government contracting officers to consider past performance when evaluating small businesses seeking to compete on federal prime contracts. CBO stated it would require $1 million dollars … leaving the question in today’s debt ceiling debate would Republicans still support this.

Besides the lack of legislative accomplishments, Jim Hagedorn is probably best known for his vote against counting Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona and Pennsylvania; Hagedorn opposed creating Commission to investigate January 6 events; and Hagedorn repeatedly voted against removing Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol. And “Representative” Finstad wants to “preserving his legacy” !

What’s next … will Pete Stauber author a bill to name a post office after Chip Cravaack for his one term accomplishments ? At least if Tom Emmer authored a bill for Michele Bachmann, she served four terms — once again without any legislative accomplishments. Heck, Brad Finstad wants Jim Hagedorn to get a post office before Jim’s father, Tom Hagedorn who served four terms, gets any recognition.

Gosh, don’t ya have to agree with Chip Roy that this is a waste of Congressional time and printing expense even if the cost of the plaque (probably under $500) is insignificant … but it truly does provide great insight into what “Representative” Finstad is focused on … keeping Hagedorn voters pleased.

Regarding the other bill that Congressman Finstad has authored H. R. 329 American Workforce Empowerment Act of 2023 … well it is “bunkum” … a great named piece of legislation … it is an idea that has lingered in the House since 2019 … not to say that it does not have merit … the problem is that is unlikely to provide much help for workers. Hagedorn’s bill was previously discussed on the MN Political Roundtable and it addresses 529 tax-advantaged savings accounts which can be used to pay for up to $10,000 per year in elementary, middle or high school tuition at public, private and parochial as well as colleges including technical schools. On December 20, 2019, the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act expanding the types of expenses for which funds in a 529 college savings account can be used without losing favorable federal tax treatment to include apprenticeship programs. This is something that some States have implemented. Hagedorn’s 2021 bill added wording addressing a reference to expenses for fees, books, supplies, tools, and equipment required for the participation in apprenticeship programs. So there is merit in the bill … but isn’t this like adding one more cherry on a sundae … if the tuition is paid for using 529 savings, don’t ya think ya got the money for the books outside of a tax-advantaged savings account ? Thus, the real question is: does the parent (or grandparent) have the money to fund a 529 plan? Not sure who currently funds 529 plans, but a 2010 analysis stated that less than 3 percent of families saved in a 529 plan and that those that did have 529 plans had incomes greater than $149,000 (in 2010 dollars) … so clearly these programs are being used by the wealthy.

If Congressman Finstad is to get either of these bills enacted, he must find an advocate in the Senate … otherwise it is “Bunkum Brad” preparing campaign literature of what he has accomplished in the House of Representatives … not what he has done to help the “houses of working families” in Minnesota’s First District.