Dayton Says GOP Senator Imperiling Health Grants

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton accused a Republican state senator on Tuesday of putting the state at risk of losing $25 million in federal health care grants by holding up their approval in order to score political points.

Sen. David Hann defended his decision to request a legislative review of how the state plans to allocate the money, saying he was simply fulfilling his duty as the chairman of the Senate’s health and human services committee and member of the Legislative Advisory Committee to demand accountability in the spending of taxpayer money. The advisory committee signs off on the receipt of some federal grants.

The eight grants in question would go toward initiatives aimed at furthering the use of preventive medicine. Among them are a research project aimed at presenting treatment options to the parents of children with cancer more rapidly after the initial diagnosis; a program to help Alzheimer’s patients stay in their homes; and the development of home and community-care options for aging veterans.

“We’re making an appeal for common sense and social justice to prevail,” Dayton said during a news conference in his office. He called Hann’s actions “unconscionable” and suggested the senator was partly motivated by politics; Hann has been a vocal and consistent critic of President Obama’s federal healthcare legislation.

The spat may end up having few consequences, as Dayton said his administration would start a process that could within a matter of weeks allow the governor to overrule Hann’s objections and accept the grants anyway. But Dayton and several of his cabinet secretaries said competition for such grants can be intense and that even a brief period of uncertainty at the state level could cause the federal agencies to reconsider their decision and give other states the chance to vie for money currently tagged for Minnesota.

“If we are not able to start spending the dollars, these grants could go elsewhere and Minnesota will be the lesser for it,” said Ed Ehlinger, the state health commissioner.

Hann said he was “troubled by the governor’s hostile personal attacks on me.” He said he had no plans to drop his request for legislative review, and that he hopes to convene a hearing of his committee in the near future and would seek more details from the Dayton administration about how the grant money would be used. Specifically, he said he was concerned that too much of the money would fund administrative and salary costs rather than go directly to research or direct care.

“I think the fundamental question should be, is this a good use of money? That’s all I’m trying to find out,” Hann said. He said he wasn’t confident that the federal legislative process already provided the scrutiny he’s demanding.

“Minnesotans pay federal taxes, too,” he said.

Hann said he was not bothered by the prospect that the money could end up going to programs in other states. He said in previous meetings, several officials from the Dayton administration reassured him that, even if the state failed to enact the grant programs, it would not result in cessation of direct services to anyone.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Pavel

    Another “know it all” Republican who wants to be an “importanty” person! Jokers! Get rid of these people! Then he calls a press conference look more important!

    • Pat

      How do you know? On the surface it sounds like he is doing his job, unlike Governor Goofy, we still have not forgotten how much he cost the state when he shut it down.
      Get more informed before you post…

      • Frankie

        You sound as informed as the article, practice what you preach.Still have not forgotten what the GOP cost the state when they could not figure out how to pass a budget in three months. Plenty of blame to go around on the budget. Some day the GOP will practice what they preach on accountability. Maybe they will even learn how to be respectable and not name call.

  • kman

    Must be part of the Death Pannel the Republicans Warnned us about

  • Dr X

    25 million? Can’t we just add a .5% sales tax to make that up?

  • Ruth

    The GOP is determined to make sure President Obama is a 1 time president. They really do not care what happenes to ‘we the people,’ just as long as they can ruin the Obama Health Care. Children with cancer mean less to them than their gaining the White House next year. We all saw Machelle Bachmann raise her fist in the air and shouting “President Obama will be a 1 time President” This was after shre fought very hard against raising the ddebt ceiling. Never mind thaat she voted 7 times to raise rhe debt ceiling for G W Bush, the very one who took office with a serplus and put our country into this great debt. Americans need to understand that the GOP favors Big Business while the Democrats favor individuals of who many are the new poor. The GOP wants to break the unions because they do not want the average blue collar worker, who sweats to build corporation’s gold piles,to have their rightful piece of the American pie.

    • Chris

      Spend, spend, and spend some more Ruth. Keep heckling the Politian’s so they are scared to question any spending.
      You people are so deep into the cool aid it isn’t funny.
      Has any money been held up? Has one cancer person been denied care?
      Keep up with the doomsday rhetoric.

      • Tom

        @ Chris

        Were you saying the samething when the GOP did all tha spending between 2000 – 2006?

    • Kevin

      No…Obama is determined to make sure he is a one term President…everyone else is just sitting back and watching the implosion……But he does not care…does anyone really think any of the GOP can really beat him? Good God…watching the GOP debate is like watching a Three Stooges movie on acid…..I say we take them all out and tar and feather them….then we can all go out for a sandwich…….

      • IMA POS Kevin

        Promoting more violence towards people. Are you sure you don’t need a mental health referral?

  • decline them

    It is always something so important for the kids, the elderly, the sick.. whatever. The reporting here isn’t very good but none the less federal money isn’t free money. The money is still coming from us. It’s time to try a little self sufficiency as a state. Hold them up, decline them. Until more are able to say no, we will continue our decline into socialism.

    • hunter

      No money is saved by not taking it. These funds will just go to another state.

  • Murph

    Save the rich and let everyone and anyone else die! Yup, that oughta get SOMEONE elected. Not Hann !

  • waste

    What is he doing wrong Dayton? He is reading the contract of the grant. When is the dead line? What is the issue with him not giving his approval until he can make an informed decision? When will the grants be turned away? Should the grants be turned away if they increase costs elsewhere that negates or increases costs?
    This is just crazy that Dayton is now pushing the legislature to rubber stamp everything.
    One of the biggest issues with our government is that no one takes ownership.
    I applaud Hann for doing his job.

    • Freaky Fridley

      You applaud the Hann job? Me too I suppose.

      • J Travolta

        Apparently, Gov Dayton is not down with the Hann Jive.

    • richard

      “waste”…read the article. If we don’t step up and get it, another state will.

      • MIke

        And, Republican legislature Hann states, “he was not bothered by the prospect that the money could end up going to programs in other states.” That is why I will never vote for a Republican. They do not care about, “we the people”.

  • gimme gimme gimme libs

    Thank you Mr Hahn for doing your job.

  • j speedbag 64

    10 billion for isreal and people are sniveling about 25 million for americans,the poor and middle class are the true enemy to the gop….

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