Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison is praising the progressive values he heard in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address.
“As the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, it is my considered opinion that this was a progressive speech,” Ellison said Monday on The Ed Show. “It was a speech that any progressive could say, ‘That’s what I’m talking about.’ I found myself spontaneously cheering in the middle of the speech. It was the kind of speech that just made me feel really good because it combined our common humanity, combined our need for economic fairness, combined the idea that better days our coming if we will step up to meet them.”
Ellison particularly noted the president’s focus on income inequality, programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that off a safety net and support for gay rights.
Last week, Ellison also introduced two bills that aim to strengthen voting rights in federal elections:
- The Same Day Registration Act is an act modeled on current Minnesota law that would require states to provide same-day voter registration for federal elections.
- The Voter Access Protection Act would bar election officials from requiring photo identification. The proposal follows a rejection by Minnesota voters last election of a proposed photo ID requirement.
“I am proud to reintroduce two bills based on Minnesota’s good example that expand instead of restrict voting rights for all Americans. Our country has gained far too much to turn back and make it harder for Americans to vote,” a news release quoted Ellison.
Ellison is one of five Democratic U.S. representatives urging his colleagues to use the Feb. 12 State of the Union as a chance to step up pressure for tighter gun control laws.
The group is asking other Democratic legislators to invite someone hurt by gun violence to the address. Each member of Congress gets to bring just one guest to the House gallery during the speech.
“It is vital that we include the American public and give a voice to our constituents as we search for comprehensive solutions to this problem,” the group stated in a letter to their colleagues.
Welcoming Somalia’s President
On Friday, Ellison Praised Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the best man to lead Somalia forward. Ellison made the comments the day after Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recognized Mohamud’s government, re-establishing links that had been broken since 1991.
In a news release, he praised the moment’s significance further:
“The United States officially recognizing the first Somali Government in two decades is nothing less than historic,” Ellison said this week. “This move marks a bright new chapter in U.S.-Somali relations. The people of Somalia and their newly elected president, who I hosted on Capitol Hill this week, should be proud of this remarkable achievement.”
“His election as President marks the first permanent government in Somalia in more than two decades and begins a new chapter for Somalis and their families,” Ellison added. “It also marks a new day for the U.S.-Somali relationship. It’s now time to strengthen our relationship with Somalia based on mutual interests. While serious challenges remain, I am optimistic and excited about Somalia’s future.”
Ellison is also one of six legislators who have introduced legislation that would eliminate the federal debt ceiling. The group argues that “The Full Faith and Credit Act of 2013” is needed because debt ceiling is no longer unnecessary and is “increasingly an impediment to Congress’s ability to further economic recovery.”
“America is not a deadbeat nation,” a news release quoted Ellison. “We should not allow one party to hold the full faith and credit of the United States of America hostage to partisan demands. It’s time we end a loophole which threatens to plummet millions of working Americans into uncertainty and risks the economic stability of the world’s largest economy.”
Watch Ellison speak about the debt ceiling in the video above.