John Kline

Kline wants preview of Obama speech to see if it’s OK for kids

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

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If anyone isn’t convinced that Rep. John Kline has taken on a new role in the Republican Party, a letter the congressman sent to the White House yesterday might make them a true believer.

Kline, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, sent a letter to President Obama requesting a preview of next week’s speech to millions of students so that parents can determine whether it is appropriate for children. The speech has been billed as the first time “an American president has spoken directly to the nation’s school children about persisting and succeeding in school.”

“Just as parents are able to review a textbook before it is used or consider a planned field trip before children leave the classroom, public consideration of your remarks in advance of the live address would ensure parents can review them, make an informed decision about whether the material is appropriate for their children, and engage them accordingly,” Kline wrote along with Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter, R-MI.

The four-term congressman noted that “questions have arisen” about the purpose of the speech, and said a preview of the text would “facilitate the public’s understanding” of the event. Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for the Republicans on Kline’s committee, said several House members have approached them with concerns from constituents about Obama delivering a political speech to students.

Part of that concern, Merrero added, arises from the Department of Education’s suggested activities and discussions for schoolteachers. Though the DoE instructions have since been revised, they once encouraged students to write themselves a letter discussing “how to help the president.”

Following the release of Kline’s letter, the White House said it would post the text of the speech online, though it’s not clear how far in advance, according to the Washington Post.

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Kline blasts Dems for rushing health care bill

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Rep. John Kline, who recently became the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Education and Labor, issued a searing statement to Democrats this morning, criticising them for rushing a 1,000 page health care reform bill through the committee without proper deliberation.

The bill, which Kline called a “government takeover of our nation’s health care system” in a statement, was approved by the committee this morning.

“Democrats’ stubborn insistence on voting when the ink had scarcely dried on the page belies a frantic rush to ratify unsound policy before its inadequacies – and consequences – could be fully realized,” Kline wrote.

He finished the statement by saying, “The American people deserve better than the Democrats’ frenzied, partisan antics.”

The reaction shows a much more outspoken side of Kline, reflecting his new position as the ranking minority member on a key House committee.

The House version of the bill includes provisions for a “public option,” in which the government offers its own health insurance. At least one other Minnesota representative, Rep. Keith Ellison, is a major supporter of that provision. (See his Youtube video where he interviews fellow House members about why their should be a public option.)

The Obama administration has been pushing for the bill to get passed and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has predicted it will reach a floor vote by the August recess – though she backed down slightly from that timetable on Friday.

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