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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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