Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Live Blogging: Congressman Keith Ellison Event

Bookmark and Share

9:30 a.m. Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-05) came into the 110th Congress as one of the Democratic Party's new stars (and the only Muslim in the House), despite his predecessor (longtime Congressman Martin Sabo) failing to offer a ringing endorsement during the 2006 campaign. Ellison nabbed a prized seat on the Judiciary Committee - a position which helped launch him to a Congressional power ranking of #159 (source: Congress.org).

9:40 a.m. This is the 5th in a series of talks at the Humphrey Institute with Minnesota's D.C. delegation (previous speakers were Senators Coleman and Klobuchar, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Congressman Tim Walz.

9:45 a.m. Ellison begins his speech outlining the basic economic problems faced by working families in today's economy. Ellison is promoting a 'consumer justice agenda' - Ellison's first bill introduced into the House last month seeks to prohibit 'universal defaults' on credit card accounts, such that companies may not raise interest rates simply because a consumer is in default on a loan from a different lender.

9:55 a.m.
Ellison outlines other inequalities within America - decrying the amount of perks and bonuses received by corporate CEOs. Ellison states he is not opposed to these benefits in principle, but finds them egregious considering how much working families are struggling today. Working families today are increasingly turning to sources of credit today -- consumer debt in the U.S. is over 2 trilllion dollars, according to the Congressman.

10:00 a.m. Ellison's bill banning the practice of universal default was also co-sponsored by three Minnesota U.S. House members (McCollum (DFL-04), Oberstar (DFL-08), and Walz (DFL-01)). The bill was introduced to the Committee on Financial Services, on which Ellison also serves. Ellison outlines several practices by consumer lenders that he deems inappropriate (payday loans, teaser rates, double cycle billing, pay to pay etc.)- such that, he states, "you've got to be rich to be poor," because everything is so expensive.

10:05 a.m. Ellison is effective in engaging the audience -- peppering his speech with questions to which he asks the audience to chime in with answers. Ellison attempts to tie the practices of consumer lending for housing to why neighborhoods frequently devolve into crime (through foreclosures, which lowers property values, which introduces the criminal element and predatory lenders into the neighborhood).

10:15 a.m. Ellison gives examples of members from his district who have lost their houses, to which he partially attributes the practices of lenders. Ellison states the most vulnerable subgroups to these practices are the poor, people of color, and the elderly. Ellison says he is in Congress to level the playing field for working people.

10:20 a.m. The forum now turns to a question and answer session moderated by Dr. Lawrence Jacobs, Director of the Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. When asked if he is 'hostile to business,' Ellison acknowledges businesses must grow, but must continue to be regulated, or otherwise our country will head into 'dire straits.'

10:25 a.m. Upon being asked, Ellison states he does indeed believe consumers are sometimes 'victims' - overwhelmed, for example, with complicated disclosure information.

10:30 a.m. Ellison acknowledges that not everyone is in a position to be a homeowner, and that there may be a lower percentage of home owners if some of his proposals were enacted into law.

10:35 a.m. Ellison was asked a question about the practices of lenders soliciting college students to sign up for credit cards. Ellison stated when his 19 year-old son came home with a credit card application he was surprised, but when his 12 year-old came home with one he was 'shocked.'

10:40 a.m. Ellison states this is not a partisan issue - pointing out some Republicans in the House who were also treated credit card companies quite harshly during committee hearings. Ellison draws laughter from the audience when he adds that his own father is a Republican: "He could step on a dime and tell you if it was head or tails."

Previous post: Smart Politics Live Blogging at Congressman Keith Ellison Event
Next post: Norm Coleman Breaks with GOP Party Leadership on Gonzales Vote

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting