|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Mark Kennedy|
|Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 52nd district
January 7, 2003 – January 2, 2007
|Preceded by||Satveer Chaudhary|
|Succeeded by||Ray Vandeveer|
|Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 56th district
January 3, 2001 – January 7, 2003
|Preceded by||Gary W. Laidig|
|Succeeded by||Brian LeClair|
|Born||Michele Marie Amble
April 6, 1956
Waterloo, Iowa, United States
|Alma mater||Winona State University (B.A.)
Oral Roberts University (J.D.)
William & Mary School of Law (LL.M.)
|Religion||Evangelical Christian (formerly Lutheran)|
|Website||Official webpage at U.S. Congress
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Michele Marie Bachmann (//; née Amble; born April 6, 1956) is an American Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota's 6th congressional district, a post she has held since 2007. The district includes several of the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, such as Woodbury, and Blaine as well as Stillwater and St. Cloud. The district has recently expanded.
She was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, winning the Ames Straw Poll in August 2011 but dropping out in January 2012 after finishing in sixth place in the Iowa caucuses. Bachmann previously served in the Minnesota State Senate and is the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress. She is a supporter of the Tea Party movement and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
Early life, education, and early career
Bachmann was born Michele Marie Amble in Waterloo, Iowa, "into a family of Norwegian Lutheran Democrats"; her family moved from Iowa to Minnesota when she was 13 years old. After her parents divorced, Bachmann's father, David John Amble, moved to California, and Bachmann was raised by her mother, Arlene Jean (née Johnson), who worked at the First National Bank in Anoka, Minnesota. Her mother remarried when Bachmann was a teenager; the new marriage resulted in a family with nine children.
In 1979, Bachmann was a member of the first class of the O. W. Coburn School of Law, then a part of Oral Roberts University (ORU). While there, Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe, whom she described in 2011 as "one of the professors who had a great influence on me". Bachmann worked as a research assistant on Eidsmoe's 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argues that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and should become one again. In 1986 Bachmann received a J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University. She was a member of the final graduating class of the law school at ORU, and was part of a group of faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school library to what is now Regent University.
In 1988, Bachmann received an LL.M. degree in tax law from the William & Mary School of Law. From 1988 to 1993, she was an attorney working for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She left her position with the IRS to become a full-time mother when her fourth child was born.
In 1978, she married Marcus Bachmann, now a clinical therapist with a master's degree from Regent University and a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School, whom she had met while they were undergraduates. After she received an LL.M. in taxation from William & Mary School of Law in 1988, the couple moved to Stillwater, Minnesota, a town of 18,000 near St. Paul, where they run a Christian counseling center. Bachmann and her husband have five children (Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, and Sophia). Bachmann said in a 2011 town hall meeting that she suffered a miscarriage after the birth of their second child, Harrison, an event which she said shaped her pro-life views.
Bachmann and her husband have also provided foster care for 23 other children, all teenage girls. The Bachmanns were licensed from 1992 to 2000 to handle up to three foster children at a time; the last child arrived in 1998. The Bachmanns began by providing short-term care for girls with eating disorders who were patients in a program at the University of Minnesota. The Bachmann home was legally defined as a treatment home, with a daily reimbursement rate per child from the state. Some girls stayed a few months, others more than a year.
In May 2012, it was reported that Marcus Bachmann had registered for Swiss citizenship and after it was finalized, Michele Bachmann automatically became a citizen as well. The Bachmanns and their three youngest children were granted citizenship on March 19, 2012. They had been eligible for this under Swiss nationality law because Marcus Bachmann's parents were Swiss. Bachmann denied that she or her husband had recently applied for Swiss citizenship, saying that her husband had already been a dual citizen as the son of Swiss immigrants, and that she had automatically acquired Swiss citizenship under then-current Swiss law when she married him in 1978; however, when asked by a Swiss Television reporter on May 8, 2012, "I understand you just got Swiss Citizenship," Bachmann's reply was, "Yes, we did." Marcus Bachmann did not register the marriage with the Swiss authorities until 2012. Within two days of the first reports of Bachmann's dual citizenship, she announced that she had written to the Swiss consulate to have her Swiss citizenship withdrawn.
Bachmann was a longtime member of Salem Lutheran Church (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) in Stillwater. She and her husband withdrew their membership on June 21, 2011, just before she officially began her presidential campaign. They had not attended the congregation for over two years. More recently, according to friends, the Bachmanns began attending Eagle Brook Church, an Evangelical church closer to their home.
Bachmann has cited theologian Francis Schaeffer as a "profound influence" on her life and her husband's, specifically referring to his film series How Should We Then Live?. She has also described Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey as a "wonderful" book. Journalist Ryan Lizza has argued that Bachmann's worldview is deeply influenced by the Christian movement known as Dominionism, citing the influence of Schaeffer and Pearcey as evidence. Others have criticized Lizza's article, especially its connection of Schaeffer with Dominionism. However, religion writer Sarah Posner broadly concurs with Lizza, pointing to the influence of Christian Reconstructionists Herb Titus and R. J. Rushdoony on Bachmann via the curriculum at O. W. Coburn School of Law.
Bachmann and her husband own a Christian counseling practice named Bachmann & Associates. The clinic is run by her husband, who has a PhD with “a concentration in clinical psychology” from Union Graduate School. Marcus Bachmann is not a licensed clinical psychologist in Minnesota. The clinic received nearly $30,000 from Minnesota government agencies between 2006 and 2010 in addition to at least $137,000 in federal payments and $24,000 in government grants for counselor training. When asked about the subject in an interview, Bachmann indicated that she and her husband had not benefited at taxpayers' expense, saying that "the money that went to the clinic was actually training money for employees". Marcus Bachmann has denied allegations that Bachmann & Associates provides conversion therapy, a controversial psychological treatment repudiated by the American Psychological Association, which attempts to transform homosexuals into heterosexuals. A former client of Bachmann's clinic and a hidden camera investigator with the activist group Truth Wins Out have said that therapists at the clinic do engage in such practices, although columnist Mariah Blake of The Nation has suggested the hidden camera investigator may have been intentionally baiting the therapist to say something controversial. In a subsequent interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann did not deny that he or other counselors at his clinic used the technique but said they did so only at the request of a client.
In personal financial disclosure reports for 2006 through 2009, Bachmann reported earning $32,500 to $105,000 from a farm that was owned at the time by her ailing father-in-law, Paul Bachmann. The farm received $260,000 in federal crop and disaster subsidies between 1995 and 2008. Bachmann said that in 2006–2009, her husband acted as a trustee of the farm for his dying father and so, out of "an abundance of caution", she claimed the farm as income in financial disclosures, though it was her in-laws who profited from the farm during that period.
Early political activism
Bachmann grew up in a Democratic family, but she says she became a Republican during her senior year at Winona State. She told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she was reading Gore Vidal's 1973 novel, Burr: "He was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, 'You know what? I don't think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.'"
While still a Democrat, she and her then-fiancé Marcus were inspired to join the pro-life movement by Francis Schaeffer's 1976 Christian documentary film, How Should We Then Live? They prayed outside of clinics and engaged in sidewalk counseling, a pro-life protest activity in which activists approach people entering abortion clinics in an attempt to dissuade women from obtaining abortions. Since then, Bachmann has made statements supportive of sidewalk counseling. Bachmann was a supporter of Jimmy Carter in 1976, and she and her husband worked on his campaign. During Carter's presidency, Bachmann became disappointed with his liberal approach to public policy, support for legalized abortion and economic decisions she held responsible for increased gas prices. In the 1980 presidential election, she voted for Ronald Reagan and worked for his campaign.
Her political activism gained media attention at a pro-life protest in 1991. She and approximately 30 other pro-life citizens went to a Ramsey County Board meeting where a $3 million appropriation was to go to build a morgue for the county at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now Regions Hospital). The Medical Center performed abortions and employed pro-choice activist Jane Hodgson. Bachmann attended the meeting to protest public tax dollars going to the hospital; speaking to the Star Tribune, she said that "in effect, since 1973, I have been a landlord of an abortion clinic, and I don't like that distinction".
In 1993, she and other parents started the K-12 New Heights Charter School in Stillwater. The publicly funded school's charter mandated that it be non-sectarian in all programs and practices, but the school soon developed a strong Christian orientation. Parents of students at the school complained and the superintendent of schools warned Bachmann that the school was in violation of state law. Six months after the school's founding Bachmann resigned and the Christian orientation was removed from the curriculum, allowing the school to keep its charter. Bachmann began speaking against a state-mandated set of educational standards, which propelled her into the world of politics.
Bachmann became a critic and opponent of Minnesota's School-to-Work policies. In a 1999 column, she wrote: "School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children's acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity."
In November 1999, she and four other Republicans were candidates, as the "Slate of Five", in an election for the school board of Stillwater. All five lost.
In 2000, Bachmann defeated 18-year incumbent Gary Laidig for the Republican nomination for State Senator for Minnesota District 56. In the November 2000 general election, she defeated Ted Thompson of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and Lyno Sullivan of the Minnesota Independence Party, to win the seat. Two years later, in November 2002, after redistricting due to the 2000 Census, Bachmann defeated another incumbent, State Senator Jane Krentz of the DFL, in the newly drawn State Senate District 52. In office, Bachmann's agenda focused on the cultural conservative issues of opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage constitutional amendment
On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Liz Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would bar the state from legally recognizing same-sex marriage. In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for a "Minnesota for Marriage" rally. Bachmann's effort to place a marriage amendment on a referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed. She resurrected her proposal in March 2005, but it stalled indefinitely in a senate committee that April.
Assistant Minority Leader
In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus. In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed her from her leadership position. Bachmann said that disagreements with Day over her anti-tax stance were the reason for her ouster.
U.S. House of Representatives
Since being elected in November 2006, Bachmann has served Minnesota's 6th congressional district, which includes the northernmost and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. She is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota.
In January 2007, a resolution was approved in the House of Representatives opposing President George W. Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. Bachmann voted "No". However, before supporting the proposed surge, Bachmann called for a full hearing, saying, "The American people deserve to hear and understand the merits of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict." She hesitated to give a firm endorsement, calling the hearings "a good first step in explaining to the American people the course toward victory in Iraq". When pressed, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter, saying, "I don't believe we have all of the information in front of us. As a member of Congress that's why I want to go to Iraq as quickly as I can. I want to get the best information in front of me."
Member of Congressional delegation
In July 2007, Bachmann joined a Congressional delegation visiting Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait and Iraq. Bachmann met briefly (due to security concerns) with U.S. personnel in the Green Zone and upon her return she said she "was encouraged by reports of progress from Crocker, Gen. David Petraeus and other personnel in Iraq linked to the surge." She said the surge "hasn't had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it's working. (Gen. Petraeus) said al-Qaida in Iraq is off its plan and we want to keep it that way. The surge has only been fully in place for a week or so."
Bachmann also spoke of the delegation's visit to Islamabad to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz at the same time as the siege of Islamic fundamentalists at the Lal Masjid mosque elsewhere in the city. She reported that "The group [of U.S. Legislators] had to travel in armored vehicles and was constantly accompanied by Pakistani military....We were all able to see extremely up close and personal what it's like to be in a region where fighting is occurring. We constantly felt like we were in need of security." Bachmann told reporters upon her return that "the dangers posed by Islamic terrorism in Iraq, Britain and Pakistan justified the continued American military presence in Iraq." She said "We don't want to see al-Qaida get a presence in the United States. Al-Qaida doesn't seem to show any signs of letting up. We have to keep that in mind."
On July 11, 2007, Bachmann voted against the College Cost Reduction and Access Act that would raise the maximum Pell grant from $4,310 to $5,200, lower interest rates on subsidized student loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, raise loan limits to $30,500 from $7,500, disfavor married students who file joint tax returns, provide more favorable repayment terms to students who fail to use their education to prosper financially and favor public sector over private sector workers with much more favorable loan forgiveness benefits. Supporters of the bill said "it would allow more students to attend college". Bachmann said her opposition was because "it fails students and taxpayers with gimmicks, hidden costs and poorly targeted aid. It contains no serious reform of existing programs, and it favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders." The bill passed the House and was signed by President Bush.
Energy and environment
During the summer of 2008, as national gasoline prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann became a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf. She joined 10 other House Republicans and members of the media on a Congressional Energy Tour to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and to Alaska. The trip was set up by Arctic Power, an Alaskan lobbying group that advocates for ANWR development. The purpose of the trip was to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in Alaska, including ANWR.
Bachmann has rejected global warming and has been a vocal skeptic of global warming. She has held the view that carbon dioxide is "a natural byproduct of nature" and is a beneficial gas required by plant life. She stated that because life requires carbon dioxide and it is part of the planet's life cycle, it cannot be harmful. In a statement she made on the House floor on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Bachmann stated she was against the cap and trade climate legislation, stating: "Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful.... We're being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the earth."
In March 2008 Bachmann introduced H.R. 849, the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. If passed, it would repeal two sections of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, signed into law by George W. Bush. The 2007 Energy Act mandates energy efficiency and labeling standards for incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Bachmann's bill would require the Government Accountability Office to show that a change to fluorescent bulbs would have "clear economic, health and environmental benefits" prior to enforcement of lighting efficiency regulations. The bill would allow these standards to remain in place if the comptroller general found they would lead to consumer savings, reduced carbon-dioxide emissions and pose no health risks to consumers (such as risks posed by the presence of mercury in fluorescent bulbs). The bill languished in the House and became inactive at the end of the 110th Congress. Bachmann reintroduced the bill in March 2011.
On June 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act (H.R. 4008) into law. The bipartisan bill, which Bachmann cosponsored with Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.), removes statutory damages for violations of a 2003 federal law prohibiting merchants from printing consumers' credit card numbers and expiration dates on sales receipts, in order to end class-action lawsuits aimed at businesses that violated the law.
Bachmann opposed both versions of the Wall Street bailout bill for America's financial sector.
She voted against the first proposed $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, which failed to pass 205–228. She also advocated breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and barring executives from excessive compensation or golden parachutes. However, she also advocated a plan that would suspend mark-to-market accounting rules and supported suspending the capital gains tax.
The American auto companies approached Congress to ask for roughly $15 billion in loans to keep them operational into 2009. Bachmann criticized that bill, fearing that the initial sum of money would be followed by subsequent ones without the companies making changes to revive their business. Bachmann supported an alternative rescue for the American auto companies and the rest of the auto industry rather than the plan that passed. Bachmann's alternative would have set benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating labor deals and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout.
Criticisms of Barack Obama
On October 17, 2008, Bachmann gave an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain that brought the Minnesota 6th Congressional District race national attention. During the interview she criticized Barack Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying "...usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into question what Barack Obama's true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are...I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views." She noted the bombing campaign orchestrated by Bill Ayers before discussing his association with Barack Obama, arguing that "Bill Ayers is not someone the average American wants to see their president have an association with." Matthews followed up by asking "But he [Obama] is a Senator from the State of Illinois; he's one of the members of Congress you suspect of being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You've already suspected Barack Obama, is he alone or are there others?" Bachmann answered, "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating exposé and take a look ... I wish they would ... I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an exposé like that."
The five Democratic members of Minnesota's congressional delegation – Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar – issued a joint statement in which they questioned her ability to "work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis". Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson said that her comments had influenced their decisions to endorse Obama for president.
Bachmann brought up the interview before business leaders and Republicans during a campaign stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on October 21, 2008. She stated that she never intended to question Obama's patriotism. "I made a misstatement. I said a comment that I would take back. I did not, nor do I, question Barack Obama's patriotism.... I did not say that Barack Obama is anti-American nor do I believe that Barack Obama is anti-American ... [But] I'm very concerned about Barack Obama's views. I don't believe that socialism is a good thing for America." However, in March 2010, Bachmann said, "I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views-- and now I look like Nostradamus" while speaking at a fund-raiser for the Susan B. Anthony List. A year later, in March 2011, Bachmann was asked on Meet the Press if she still believed that Obama held un-American views. She responded "I believe that the actions of this government have, have been emblematic of ones that have not been based on true American values." Pressed for clarification, she said "I've already answered that question before. I said I had very serious concerns about the president's views."
On March 26, 2009, following comments by China proposing adoption of a global reserve currency, Bachmann introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to bar the dollar from being replaced by a foreign currency. Current law prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., but Bachmann expressed concerns relating to the President's power to make and interpret treaties. Earlier that month, at a Financial Services Committee hearing, Bachmann asked both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if they would reject calls for the U.S. to move away from the U.S. dollar and they replied that they would reject such a call.
In a June 17, 2009, interview with The Washington Times, Bachmann expressed concern that the questions on the 2010 United States Census had become "very intricate, very personal" and that ACORN, a community organizing group that had come under fire the previous year, might be part of the Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts. She stated, "I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home, we won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that." According to Politifact her statement was incorrect, as the watchdog group confirmed that the Constitution does require citizens to complete the census. Fellow Republican Representatives Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.) – members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, which oversees the census – subsequently asked Bachmann not to boycott the population count.
Along with Congressman Ted Poe (Tex.-02), Bachmann introduced the American Community Survey Act to limit the amount of personal information solicited by the U.S. Census Bureau. She reiterated her belief that the census asks too many personal questions.
Cap and Trade legislation
In March 2009, Bachmann was interviewed by the Northern Alliance Radio Network and promoted two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury regarding Obama's proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." Bachmann's office quickly clarified that she was speaking metaphorically, meaning "armed with knowledge." However, according to the Star Tribune, her quote went viral across the Internet.
In 2009, Bachmann became a critic of what she characterized as proposals for mandatory public service. Speaking in reference to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an expansion to AmeriCorps (a federal community service organization), she said in April:
It's under the guise of—quote—volunteerism. But it's not volunteers at all. It's paying people to do work on behalf of government. ... I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.
The original bill called for an exploration of whether a mandatory public service program could be established, but that entire section on creating a "Congressional Commission on Civic Service" was stripped from the bill.
In August 2009, political opponents of Bachmann publicized in the local media and the blogosphere what they described as the "ironic" fact that her son, Harrison, joined Teach for America, which is a member of the AmeriCorps program.
Bachmann contributed to the "death panel" controversy when she read from a July 24 article written by Betsy McCaughey from the floor of the House. Sarah Palin said that her "death panel" remark was inspired by what she called the "Orwellian" opinions of Ezekiel Emanuel as described by Bachmann, who accused him of advocating health care rationing by age and disability. According to PolitiFact and TIME, Bachmann's euthanasia remarks distorted Emanuel's position on health care for the elderly and disabled. FactCheck.org stated, "We agree that Emanuel's meaning is being twisted." When many doctors wanted to legalize euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, Emanuel opposed it.
On August 31, 2009, Bachmann spoke at an event in Colorado, saying of Democratic health care overhaul proposals that:
This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass.
She outlined ideas for changing the health care system, including: "Erase the boundaries around every single state when it comes to health care", enabling consumers to purchase insurance across state lines; increase the use of health savings accounts and allow everyone to "take full deductibility of all medical expenses", including insurance premiums; and tort reform.
Criticism of President Obama's visit to Asia
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on November 3, 2010, when discussing cuts in government spending for Medicare and Social Security suggested by Congressman Paul Ryan, Bachmann was asked what cuts in government spending she would make to reduce the deficit. She cited President Obama's then-upcoming visit to Asia as an example, saying it "is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day. He's taking two thousand people with him. He'll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it's a very small example, Anderson." Bachmann was apparently referring to information in a story from the Press Trust of India, attributed to "a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit", information that was also published in U.S.-based media such as The Drudge Report. In response to the news report's claim that 34 warships were accompanying the President, a Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, dismissed the account as "comical". The White House said that the press report figures were "wildly inflated" and had "no basis in reality". While stating that they could not give the actual projected figures for security reasons, staffers maintained costs were in line with the official travel costs of previous presidents Bush and Clinton.
After the 2010 elections and the announcement from Rep. Mike Pence that he was stepping away from his leadership position in the House, Bachmann announced on her Facebook page her intention to seek the position of House Republican Conference Chair. As Bachmann is the founder of the House's Tea Party Caucus, her announcement caused some to see the leadership election as "an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement's winners". Many among the House's Republican leadership, including Eric Cantor and the retiring Mike Pence, were quick to endorse Rep. Jeb Hensarling for the position; Speaker-to-be John Boehner remained neutral on the issue. Supporters of Bachmann's run include Reps. Steve King, John Kline, Louie Gohmert, Chip Cravaack, Erik Paulsen, as well as media personality and political commentator Glenn Beck. Listing her qualifications for the position Bachmann noted "I've done an effective job speaking out at a national and local level, motivating people with our message, calling attention to deficits in Obama's policy. I was instrumental in bringing tens of thousands of people to the U.S. capitol to rally against Obama care and to attend our press conference." She noted her work to keep the Tea Party within the GOP rather than having it become a third party thereby helping the party capture the House, stating "I have been able to bring a voice and motivate people to, in effect, put that gavel in John Boehner's hands, so that Republicans can lead going forward. …It's important that leadership represents the choice of the people coming into our caucus….I think I have motivated a high number of people to get involved in this cycle who may have sat it out and that have made a difference on a number of these races. I gave a large amount of money to NRCC and individual candidates and started Michele PAC, which raised $650,000 for members since July, so I was able to financially help about 50 people out."
Bachmann's bid suffered a setback when she was passed over for the GOP's transition team on which Hensarling was placed. Despite Bachmann's leading all other Representatives in fund raising, a Republican aide stated some "members are getting resentful of Bachmann, who they say is making the argument that you're not really a Tea Party supporter unless you support her. That's gone through the formation of the Tea Party Caucus and the formation of this candidacy of hers. It's just not so." Sarah Palin, with whom Bachmann had campaigned earlier in the year, declined to endorse her leadership bid, while other Tea Party favorites Reps Adam Kinzinger and Tim Scott were placed on the transition team. According to some senior House staff members, the party leadership was concerned about some of Bachmann's high profile faux pas, the high rate of turnover among her staff, and how willing she would be to advance the party's messaging rather than her own.
On November 10, Bachmann released a statement ending her campaign for Conference Chair and giving her "enthusiastic" support to Hensarling.
Bachmann was selected by House Speaker John Boehner for a position "on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, giving her a new role as overseer of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community." Bachmann, who had "not served on any committee that deals with foreign policy issues" requested the position, "a move that has fueled speculation that she may be planning to carry the Tea Party banner into the GOP presidential primaries."
Repeal of Dodd-Frank reform
Soon after being sworn in to her third term, Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. She stated, "I'm pleased to offer a full repeal of the job-killing Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill. Dodd-Frank grossly expanded the federal government beyond its jurisdictional boundaries. It gave Washington bureaucrats the power to interpret and enforce the legislation with little oversight. Real financial regulatory reform must deal with these lenders who were a leading cause of our economic recession. True reform must also end the bailout mind-set that was perpetuated by the last Congress." She also took issue with the law for not addressing the liabilities of the tax-payer funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bachmann's bill was endorsed by conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity. It gained four other Republican co-sponsors, including Rep. Darrell Issa, who became the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the start of the 112th Congress. Bachmann's call for total repeal was seen as more drastic than the approach advocated by her fellow Republican Spencer Bachus who became the House Financial Services Committee Chairman with the change of majority in the House. Bachus "plans to provide 'vigorous' oversight of regulators efforts to reform banking and housing...reform Fannie and Freddie", and "dismantle pieces of [the] Dodd-Frank Act that he believes 'unnecessarily punish small businesses and community banks.'" In response to Bachmann's legislation Rep Barney Frank stated, "Michele Bachmann, the Club for Growth, and others in the right-wing coalition have now made their agenda for the financial sector very clear: they yearn to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, so the loan arrangers can ride again – untrammeled by any rules restraining irresponsibility, excess, deception, and most of all, infinite leverage." The chances of Bachmann's legislation passing were viewed as unlikely, the Financial Times wrote that "Like the Republican move to repeal healthcare reform, Ms Bachmann's bill could be passed by the House of Representatives but be blocked by the Senate or White House."
State of the Union response
Bachmann responded to President Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech for the Tea Party Express website; this speech was broadcast live by CNN. She insisted that her response was not intended to counter the official Republican party response by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. When asked if the speech was an indication of competition with Ryan and Speaker Boehner's leadership team, Bachmann dismissed such a view as "a fiction of the media", she had alerted Ryan and the leadership team that her response might go national and no objections were raised.
Repeal of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Bachmann has characterized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as "ObamaCare", and has continually called for its repeal. She recalled to reporters that she called for debate to repeal the act "the morning after Obamacare passed". Joining with Rep. Steve King she introduced "the Bachmann-King repeal of health care bill" stating that it "is our intent in our heart to make sure that Obamacare is completely repealed." In light of a Democratic held Senate and Presidency that oppose repeal, Bachmann called on the Republican held House of Representatives to not provide any funds for the implementation of the act "But until we can see that [repeal] happen, we want to fully defund this bill so that, like, it would be akin to a helium balloon that gets no helium inside so that it can't take off the ground, and that's what we're planning to do. I'm very, very grateful for nothing else; having a majority in the House of Representatives so that we have the ability of the power of the purse to not fund Obamacare, and this is exactly the right way to go."
On March 4, 2011, Bachmann (who was one of the six House Republicans to vote against the continuing resolution) expressed her unhappines with the move that gave a two-week reprieve to the fear of government shutdown, stating "I am vowing to vote 'no' on future Continuing Resolutions to fund the government unless there is specific language included to defund Obamacare and rescind the funding that has already been appropriated. Defunding Obamacare, along with defunding Planned Parenthood, must be non-negotiable planks in our budget negotiations."
In an appearance on Meet the Press on March 6, 2011, and during a March 7, 2011, interview with Sean Hannity, Bachmann declared that the Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats had hidden $105 billion in spending in the overhaul of the American Health Care System. She portrayed the Democratic leadership as timing the release of the bill's text to avoid detection of the spending "We didn't get the bill until a literally couple of hours before we were supposed to vote on it." She also stated the spending was split up within different portions of the bill to mask its total cost. Bachmann was alerted of the situation by the conservative Heritage Foundation which read the tallies of the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office.
Reports listed a partial breakdown of the costs which include "about $40 billion would go to the Children's Health Insurance Program, $15 billion would go to Medicare and Medicaid innovation programs, and $9.5 billion would go to the Community Health Centers Fund." As the funds are designated mandatory spending (they are not controlled by the annual appropriations acts), the funds would remain even if the move to defund the reform law succeeded.
Bachmann stated that $16 billion of the money gives Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a "slush fund...[to do] whatever she wants with this money." She called on the bills supporters to return the money, "I think this deception that the president and [former House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid put forward with appropriating over $105 billion needs to be given back to the people."
When asked during the Meet the Press interview if she would take back her previous comments that Obama "may have anti-American views" and that his administration had "embraced something called gangster government", Bachmann backed her statements, saying "I do believe that actions that have been taken by this White House – I don't take back my statements on gangster government. I think that there have been actions taken by the government that are corrupt... I said I have very serious concerns about the president's views, and I think the president's actions in the last two years speak for themselves."
In response to Bachmann's charges Chief Deputy Democratic Whip Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who serves on the House health subcommittee, pointed out that the report Bachmann refers to is an update of a report that came out in October 2010 and that the costs were spelled out in both the bill and the Congressional Budget Office's estimate of its cost, "Michele Bachmann obviously didn't read the bill, because there was absolutely nothing hidden in that legislation." Schakowsky held that the costs were not kept secret, citing the $40 billion for the Children's Health Insurance Program as an example "There was a robust debate about whether or not that should be included, etc. So this idea of somehow, now at the last minute, there was a secret addition to some kind of funding...is absolute nonsense."
Letter on Muslim Brotherhood influence
In June–July 2012 Bachmann and several other Republican legislators sent a series of letters to oversight agencies at five federal departments citing “serious security concerns” about what Bachmann has called a “deep penetration in the halls of our United States government” by the Muslim Brotherhood. They requested formal investigations into what Bachmann called "influence operations" by the Brotherhood.
Bachmann's comments have drawn what the Washington Post calls "fierce criticism from fellow lawmakers and religious groups." In a speech on the Senate floor, 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain denounced Bachmann's charges as "specious and degrading". He defended Abedin as a "hard-working and loyal servant of our country and our government" and stated "these attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit. They need to stop now." House Speaker John Boehner termed Bachmann’s allegations “dangerous", and other Republicans have also criticized the remarks.
In a letter to Bachmann, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Muslim, asked for evidence backing her claims and stated, “Your response simply rehashes claims that have existed for years on anti-Muslim websites and contains no reliable information that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government”.
Bachmann has replied that "the intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group's access to top Obama administration officials". In a July 19 interview with radio and TV show host Glenn Beck, Bachmann repeated and expanded her allegations, accusing Ellison of having "a long record of being associated with the Council on American–Islamic Relations and with the Muslim Brotherhood". (Ellison replied that "I am not now, nor have I ever been, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.")
- Committee on Financial Services
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
According to an article in the Stillwater Gazette, a local newspaper in Minnesota, Bachmann supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in public school science classes. During a 2003 interview on the KKMS Christian radio program Talk The Walk, Bachmann said that evolution is a theory that has never been proven one way or the other. She co-authored a bill (that received no additional endorsement among her fellow legislators) that would require public schools to include alternative explanations for the origin of life as part of the state's public school science curricula. In October 2006, Bachmann told a debate audience in St. Cloud, Minnesota "there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not.... There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design." However, at least one news report, presenting a "sampling of Bachmann's ... ludicrous or plain old false claims", stated that this was untrue, and that "when the science isn't on [Bachmann's] side, she simply improvises."
Bachmann has praised the Christian youth ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International (YCRBYCH), hailing "the group's work of sharing the gospel in public schools". She appeared as a keynote speaker at their fundraisers in 2006 and 2009. Following a 2011 controversial invocation for the Minnesota House, Bradlee Dean (the founder of YCRBYCH), declared that criticisms of him and his ministry were also "intended to harm and destroy the presidential campaign of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann...[who] previously praised and prayed for the work of my ministry". Bachmann has a history of opposing anti-bullying legislation. In 2006, she told the Minnesota Legislature that passing an anti-bullying bill would be a waste of time. "I think for all of us, our experience in public schools is there have always been bullies," Bachmann said. "Always have been, always will be. I just don't know how we're ever going to get to the point of zero tolerance... What does it mean?... Will we be expecting boys to be girls?"
In the Minnesota Senate, Bachmann opposed minimum wage increases. In an interview in late June 2011, Bachmann did not back away from her earlier proposal to eliminate the federal minimum wage, a change she said would "virtually wipe out unemployment."
In a 2001 flyer, Bachmann and Michael J. Chapman wrote that federal policies manage a centralized, state-controlled economy in the United States. She wrote that education laws passed by Congress in 2001, including "School To Work" and "Goals 2000", created a new national school curriculum that embraced "a socialist, globalist worldview; loyalty to all government and not America." In 2003, Bachmann said that the "Tax Free Zones" economic initiatives of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty were based on the Marxist principle of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." She also said that the administration was attempting to govern and run centrally planned economies through an organization called the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT), an advisory board on economic and workforce policy chaired by Pawlenty. Prior to her election to the state senate, and again in 2005, Bachmann signed a "no new taxes" pledge sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. As a state senator, Bachmann introduced two bills that would have severely limited state taxation. In 2003, she proposed amending the Minnesota state constitution to adopt the "Taxpayers' Bill of Rights" (TABOR).
In 2005, Bachmann opposed Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's proposal for a state surcharge of 75 cents per pack on the wholesale cost of cigarettes. Bachmann said that she opposed the state surcharge "100 percent – it's a tax increase." She later was criticized by the Taxpayers' League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.
Bachmann has stated a strong opposition toward the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pledging at an August 2011 campaign rally, "...I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation." In 2007 and 2010, Bachmann was actively soliciting for funds from the EPA on behalf of constituents in her congressional district.
Social Security and Medicare phaseout
...what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don't have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off.
She has also said that she is "a long time supporter of Israel".
In a discussion about the G-20 summit in Toronto, during an interview with conservative radio host Scott Hennen, Bachmann stated that she does not want America to be part of the international global economy.
I don't want the United States to be in a global economy where our economic future is bound to that of Zimbabwe, We can't necessarily trust the decisions that are being made financially in other countries. I don't like the decisions that are being made in our own country, but certainly I don't want to trust the value of my currency and my future to that of like a Chavez down in Venezuela.
On economists who have influenced her views, Bachmann told The Wall Street Journal,
... the late Milton Friedman as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. "I'm also an Art Laffer fiend—we're very close," she adds. "And [Ludwig] von Mises. I love von Mises," getting excited and rattling off some of his classics like Human Action and Bureaucracy. "When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises."
Bachmann believes that strengthened enforcement of immigration laws is required for the growth of the American job market. She supports amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow only the immediate family of legal immigrants (not extended family members) priority consideration in the immigration process. She voted against the DREAM Act. She has also stated that the current law does not need modification but proper enforcement.
Bachmann has expressed support for immigration of highly-skilled professionals such as chemists and engineers.
Same-sex marriage constitutional amendment
In August 2006, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that in March 2006, Bachmann was on a Minneapolis radio show advocating for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. A caller asked her to explain how he, a heterosexual, would be harmed if his gay neighbors were allowed to marry. Bachmann replied saying, "Public schools would have to teach that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are normal, natural and that maybe children should try them." The Star Tribune also reported that Bachmann has publicly referred to homosexuality as "sexual dysfunction," "sexual identity disorders," and "personal enslavement" that leads to "sexual anarchy."
Bachmann has identified herself as pro-life and has been endorsed in her runs for Congress by the Susan B. Anthony List and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. At a debate among presidential candidates in New Hampshire, when asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, Bachmann responded that she is "100 per cent pro-life". In the state senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.
Federal-backed home loans
According to an article in the Washington Post, in 2008 Bachmann may have taken advantage of a federal program for a home loan, then called for dismantling the program, though the article notes that the public and other members of Congress have taken advantage of such loans despite seeing reasons to criticize them. When asked about it, she said: "This is the problem. It is almost impossible to buy a home in this country today without the federal government being involved".
Support of President Obama on birth certificate issue
Bachmann had never been part of the so-called birther movement but had said President Obama could resolve the dispute by producing the his long-form birth certificate. In April 2011, after Obama released the certificate, Bachmann was asked about the issue on Good Morning America by George Stephanopoulos. She said that its release "should settle the matter", that "I take the President at his word", and that "We have bigger fish to fry".
2006 congressional campaign
Bachmann won her Congressional seat in the 2006 election with 50 percent of the vote, as she defeated Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidate Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party's John Binkowski.
The U.S. 6th District's congressman since 2001, Mark Kennedy, announced in late 2005 that he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton of the DFL. Bachmann states "God then called me to run" for the U.S. House seat, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be more sure.
According to Bloomberg.com news, evangelical conservative leader James Dobson put the resources of his organization behind her 2006 campaign. Dobson's Focus on the Family planned to distribute 250,000 voter guides in Minnesota churches to reach social conservatives, according to Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, a local affiliate of Dobson's group. In addition to Minnesota, Dobson's group also organized turnout drives in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Montana.
During a debate televised by WCCO-TV on October 28, 2006, news reporter Pat Kessler quoted a story that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and asked Bachmann whether it was true that the church she belonged to taught that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Bachmann stated that her church "does not believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, that's absolutely false... I'm very grateful that my pastor has come out and been very clear on this matter, and I think it's patently absurd and it's a false statement."
Bachmann received support from a fundraising visit in early July 2006 from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. On July 21, 2006, Karl Rove visited Minnesota to raise funds for her election. In August, President George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at her congressional fundraiser, which raised about $500,000. Bachmann also received fundraising support from Vice President Dick Cheney. The National Republican Congressional Committee put nearly $3 million into the race, for electronic and direct-mail ads against DFLer Wetterling. The amount was significantly more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent on behalf of Wetterling. On November 7, 2006, Bachmann defeated opponents Patty Wetterling and John Binkowski, taking 50 percent of the vote to Wetterling's 42 percent and Binkowski's eight percent.
2008 congressional campaign
In 2008, Bachmann won re-election over her DFL and Independence Party endorsed opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg. With all precincts reported, Bachmann won, 46.41% to 43.43%. Because Tinklenberg was running as a DFLer in the Democratic primary this allowed candidate Bob Anderson to run in the Independence Party primary unopposed despite not having the Independence endorsement. Anderson received 10% of the vote.
In the 2007–2008 election cycle, Bachmann's campaign raised over $3.49 million for her re-election. Roughly 70% of her contributions came from individual contributions, 28% from small individual contributions and 42% from large individual contributions.
2010 congressional campaign
Bachmann was challenged in 2010 by DFL nominee Tarryl Clark and Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson. With more than $8.5 million, Bachmann spent more than any other House of Representative candidate, although her opponent, Tarryl Clark, was able to raise $4 million, one of the largest fundraising efforts in the nation for a U.S. House challenger. On November 2, 2010, Bachmann defeated Tarryl Clark by 52% to 40% of the vote.
In the 2009–2010 election cycle, Bachmann's campaign raised over $13.4 million for her re-election; the average House member raised about $1 million over the same election cycle. Roughly 96% of her contributions came from individual contributors, and of those, 56% were from small individual contributions and 40% were from large individual contributions. Additionally, 3% came from PAC contributions and less than 1% from other sources.
2012 presidential campaign
In early 2011, there was much speculation that Bachmann would run for president in 2012. Bachmann participated in the second Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on June 13, 2011; during the debate she announced she had filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier that day to become a candidate for the GOP nomination. Bachmann formally announced her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on June 27, 2011, during an appearance in Waterloo, Iowa.
Although she won the Ames Straw Poll hosted by the Iowa GOP on August 13, 2011, becoming the first woman ever to win the poll, when the actual caucuses were held on January 3, 2012, she finished sixth with 4.98% of the vote. Bachmann announced on January 4 that she would be cancelling her scheduled campaign trips to South Carolina, as she was suspending her presidential campaign.
2012 congressional campaign
On January 25, 2012, Bachmann announced that she would run for reelection for her seat in Congress.
According to Politico.com, as of July 2012, Bachmann has "raised close to $15 million" for the 2012 election, a figure it called "astounding ... more than some Senate candidates will collect this year." From July to the end of September, Bachmann raised $4.5 million. This amount put her ahead of all other members of congress (including Allen West who was in second place with $4 million) for the third quarter. Bachmann said that she was "humbled by the enormous outpouring of grassroots support for my campaign focused on keeping America the most secure and prosperous nation in the world."
In November, 2011 Bachmann published her autobiography, Core of Conviction, in which she outlines the events and people who have shaped her values and beliefs including her parents divorce when she was in the ninth grade. She describes the financial struggles her mother suffered as a single parent in trying to provide for her family and the work ethic she developed as a result of it. She writes of that time, "I took every baby sitting job I could get, because by ninth grade, I was growing conscious of my appearance. In those days, girls had to wear dresses to public school, and if I wanted pretty dresses, I had to buy them, because mom couldn't afford them for me; she couldn't afford lunch money."
Bachmann writes about her political conversion as a young adult when Jimmy Carter, whom she voted for, let her down. "It was in the perilous fires of the Carter administration that my ideology was forged," she wrote. "In the seventies, Carter taught me what I was against, and then in the eighties, Reagan taught me what I was for." She also details why she went to work for the Internal Revenue Service. She says it was because she wanted to change the tax code, "from the inside out." She also commented on her role as a Tea Party leader. "I once said that the Tea Party represents 90 percent of Americans. I now realize that I misspoke," she admitted. "I should have said 100 percent, because I believe that nearly all Americans retain faith in the ordered liberty that the Constitution offers."
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Michele Bachmann|
- Official website at U.S. Congress
- Official campaign website
- Politifact.com File on Michele Bachmann
- Michele Bachmann at Minnesota Legislators Past & Present
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Financial information (state office) at the National Institute for Money in State Politics
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Michele Bachmann in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Entry at NNDB
Gary W. Laidig
|Minnesota Senator from the 56th district
|Minnesota Senator from the 52nd district
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district
|Party political offices|
|New title||Chairman of the Tea Party Caucus
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority